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Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G

Cellular Base Stations

Vedran Azman

The School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
University of Queensland
Brisbane, Australia

Submitted for the degree of Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
in the division of Electrical Engineering

October 18

Vedran Azman
4/26 Amelia Street
QLD 4151
Brisbane, Australia

October 2002

Professor Simon Kaplan
Head of School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
University of Queensland
St. Lucia, QLD 4072

Dear Professor Kaplan

In accordance with the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Engineering
(Honours) in the division of Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland, I
hereby submit for your consideration the thesis titled: Conformal Antenna Arrays for
3G Cellular Base Stations. This work was performed under supervision of Associate
Professor Marek E. Bialkowski.

I declare that the work submitted in this thesis is my own, except as acknowledged in
the text and has not been previously submitted for a degree at The University of
Queensland or any other institution.

Yours sincerely,

Vedran Azman


I would like to thank my supervisor, Associate Professor Marek E. Bialkowski, for
introducing me to the field of RF and Microwave Engineering and for giving me the
chance to undertake this thesis under his supervision. Your support and valuable advice
has guided me to the successful completion of this thesis that would not be possible
without your help.

I am also very grateful to Mr. Eddie Tsai for his support, advice and precious time spent
on countless simulations performed for this thesis. I would like to thank you for
gathering all simulation results and helping me to put this thesis together. Thanks also
extend to Mr. Russel Clarke, the lab manager, for setting up the simulation software in
the thesis laboratory.

I would also like to express my gratitude to my close family for encouragement and
support given throughout my life. Heartfelt thanks and appreciation goes to my parents
and relatives in my homeland Bosnia and Herzegovina for their love and continuous
support throughout the years.

Last but not least I would like to express my appreciation to my beloved girlfriend
Rekha Komala for her love, support and understanding throughout this difficult and
challenging year.

Thank you all for helping me achieve one of the major goals in my life.

Contents Page

Acknowledgments i
List of Figures vi
List of Tables viii
Abstract ix

Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Mobile Base Station Antennas 1
Thesis Objective 3
Thesis Overview 4

Chapter 2 Antennas 5
Types of Antennas 5
Wire Antennas 6
Aperture Antennas 6
Microstrip Antennas 7
Array Antennas 8
Fundamental Parameters of Antenna 8
Radiation Pattern 9
Radiation Pattern Lobes 9
Gain 10
Bandwidth 11
Beamwidth 11
Front-to-Back Ratio 11

Chapter 3 Cellular Base Station Antennas 12
Antenna Construction 12
Antenna Manufacturing Developments 13
Omni-directional Antennas 14
Sector Antennas 14
Panel Arrays 16
Antennas with Downtilt 18
Diversity 18

Chapter 4 Antenna System Selection for 3G Applications 20
Base Station Antennas 21
Performance Criteria 21
Diversity 23
Different dB Units 24
Smart Antennas 24

Chapter 5 Cellular System Fundamentals 26
Introduction 26
Cellular Fundamentals 27
Communication using Base Stations 27
A Call from a Mobile 28
A Call to a Mobile 28
Channel Characteristics 28
Fading Channels 29
Doppler Spread 29
Delay Spread 29
Link Budget and Path Loss 30
Channel Reuse 31
Multiple Access Schemes 32
Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) 32
Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) 32
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 33
Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA) 34
Comparison of Different Multiple Access Schemes 34

Cellular Configurations 35
Macrocell System 36
Microcell System 36
Picocell System 36
Cell Splitting and cell Sectorisation 37
Handoff 37
Network-Controlled Handoff 38
Mobile-Controlled Handoff 38
Mobile-Assisted Handoff 39
Hard and Soft Handoff 39
Power Control 39

Chapter 6 Mobile Communication Systems 40
Introduction from 1G to 3G 40
First Generation Systems 41
Second Generation Systems 42
Third Generation Systems 45

Chapter 7 Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) 53
Introduction 53
Logical Channels 56
Physical Channels 57
Spreading 60
Handover 61
Interoperability between GSM and WCDMA 62

Chapter 8 Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays 65
Microstrip Patch Antennas 65
General Characteristics 65
Feeding Techniques 67
Enhancing Bandwidth 69
Conformal Arrays 72
Pattern of Circular and Cylindrical Arrays 73
Grating Lobes 76
Scan Element Pattern 79
Sector Arrays on Cylinders 80
Pattern and Directivity 80
Comparison of Planar and Sector Arrays 82

Chapter 9 Single Element Design 84
Overview of Ensemble CAD Software 84
Overview of HFSS CAD Software 85
Materials 86
Patch Size Calculation 87
Ensemble Simulation and Optimisation 88

Chapter 10 Conformal Array Design and Simulations 93
PC Hardware Requirements for HFSS Software 93
Design and Simulation Results 93
Array with 0.52 element spacing 96
Array with 0.62 element spacing 101
Array with 0.72 element spacing 106
Array with 0.82 element spacing 111
Array with 0.92 element spacing 116
Tabulated Results of Simulations 121

Chapter 11 Discussion of Results 123
Radiation Pattern 123
Return Loss 124
Insertion Loss 125

Chapter 12 Summary and Future Developments 126
Summary 126
Future Work 127
Conclusion 128

Bibliography 129

List of Figures

Figure 1.1 Standard 3-sector base station with GSM and CDMA antennas.
Figure 1.2 A shared cellular base station.
Figure 1.3 Front view of a cylindrical (conformal) antenna array.
Figure 2.1 Wire antenna configurations.
Figure 2.2 Aperture antenna configurations.
Figure 2.3 Rectangular and circular microstrip patch antennas.
Figure 2.4 Typical wire, aperture and microstrip array configurations.
Figure 2.5 Coordinate system for antenna analysis.
Figure 2.6 (a) Radiation lobes and beamwidths of an antenna pattern.
(b) Linear plot of power pattern and its associated lobes and beamwidths.
Figure 3.1 An omni-directional antenna constructed from a collinear array of dipoles.
Figure 3.2 A 50-ohm power divider.
Figure 3.3 WCDMA sector antenna with 17-dBi gain.
Figure 3.3a Radiation patterns for the WCDMA panel antenna.
Figure 3.4 A panel antenna operable from 820 MHz to 960 MHz.
Figure 3.5 Antenna mounting for a 30-meter tower.
Figure 4.1 Smart Antenna Systems: (a) Switched Antennas;
(b) Multiple Beam Array; (c) Steered-Beam Array.
Figure 5.1 Typical cellular system setup.
Figure 5.2 Multipath propagation leads to a multipath delay profile.
Figure 5.3 Channel reuse method in cellular systems.
Figure 6.1 The 3G spectrum.
Figure 7.1 Softer and Soft Handovers.
Figure 8.1 Performance trends of single-layered microstrip patch antenna:
(a) Impedance bandwidth; (b) Directivity; (c) Surface wave efficiency
Figure 8.2 Conformal arrays: (a) Aperture dimensions much less than local radius of
curvature (b) Aperture dimensions comparable with local radius of curvature.
Figure 8.3 Circular array geometry.
Figure 8.4 Coordinate system.
Figure 8.5 Grating lobe position and height vs. scan angle.
Figure 8.6 30 dB patterns for (a) = 0, (b) = 30 and (c) = 60 degrees
0 0 0
Figure 8.7 30 dB Chebyshev patterns.
Figure 8.8 Scan element patterns for several spacings.
Figure 8.9 Scan element pattern.
Figure 8.10 Arc array directivity relative to flat array across diameter.
Figure 8.11 Scan element patterns of arc arrays.
Figure 9.1 Dimensions of a single layer element.
Figure 9.2 Return loss for a single element.
Figure 9.3 Return loss for a single element.
Figure 9.4 Single patch dimensions for the return loss obtained above.
Figure 9.5 Return loss obtained for the same patch using HFSS.
Figure 9.6 Return loss for the optimised element in HFSS.


List of Tables

Table 3.1 WCDMA base-station panel antenna specifications.
Table 6.1 Parameters of some First-Generation Cellular Standards.
Table 6.2 Parameters of various 2
generation communication systems.
Table 6.3 Parameters of various 2
generation communication systems.
Table 6.4 Expected 3G data speeds.
Table 6.5 Characteristics of 3G Mobile Phones.
Table 6.6 Characteristics of 3G Mobile Base Stations.
Table 7.1 Main WCDMA Parameters.
Table 7.2 Main differences between WCDMA and GSM air interface.
Table 7.3 Main differences between WCDMA and IS-95 air interface.
Table 7.4 Logical Channels in WCDMA.
Table 10.1 Conformal array parameters for 0.52 element spacing.
Table 10.2 Conformal array parameters for 0.62 element spacing.
Table 10.3 Conformal array parameters for 0.72 element spacing.
Table 10.4 Conformal array parameters for 0.82 element spacing.
Table 10.5 Conformal array parameters for 0.92 element spacing.
Table 10.6 Simulation results of an array with 0.52 element spacing.
Table 10.7 Simulation results of an array with 0.62 element spacing.
Table 10.8 Simulation results of an array with 0.72 element spacing.
Table 10.9 Simulation results of an array with 0.82 element spacing.
Table 10.10 Simulation results of an array with 0.92 element spacing.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular
Base Stations

Vedran Azman


Antennas may be one of the most taken-for-granted components in wireless and cellular
communication systems. However they are critical to the operation of a cellular base
station with many choices available depending upon the particular site and operating
Development of essentially new base station antennas has become one of the most
important tasks in contemporary antenna engineering. Mobile communication systems
are continuing to grow rapidly and the new millennium has seen the introduction of
third-generation (3G) mobile communications systems that will offer broadband data
services with high data bit rates (up to 2 Mb/s), enhanced multimedia services and
Internet applications.
As wireless communication markets develop very rapidly, with it the number of base
station antennas has also increased. In coming years, the new generation of wireless
communication systems will demand new and improved base station antennas. New
base station antennas will need to be developed that will replace current sector panel
antennas and reduce the overall number of antennas on cellular base stations.
The purpose of this thesis is to provide an overview on third-generation mobile
communication systems and conformal antenna arrays that could be used in such
systems. This thesis aims to analyse the effects of curvature on the performance of
cylindrical microstrip antenna arrays in the 1920 - 2170 MHz band, which is the
operating frequency band for the main third-generation air interface, the WCDMA. The
effects of curvature will be analysed using High Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS)
software which considers mutual coupling effects in antenna arrays. Simulation results
for various curvatures are plotted for evaluation and discussion. The presented work
finishes with conclusion and suggestions for possible future works.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 1


Wireless communications have been one of the highest growing markets over the past
two decades. The growth in the market has been continuous both in terms of the number
of subscribers and number of telecommunications services offered. By April 2002 the
number of world cellular subscribers reached 1 billion [26]. To connect people and
improve the overall quality of life, new third generation wireless systems have been
developed that offer new multimedia capabilities, better reliability, improved battery
life and efficient and more cost-effective solutions. As the wireless communication
continues to develop very rapidly, number of base station antennas has also increased.
In coming years, the new generation of wireless communication systems will demand
new and improved base station antennas. New base station antennas will need to be
developed that will replace the current sectored panel antennas and reduce the overall
number of antennas on a base station. They will operate in the frequency band (1920 -
2170 MHz) for WCDMA or may even be dual-band or multi-band and be able to cover
some or all of GSM (890 - 960 MHz), GSM1800 (1710 to 1885 MHz) and CDMA (824
894 MHz and 1850 1990 MHz) frequency bands.

Cellular Base Station Antennas

Outdoor cellular base stations currently utilising antennas for second generation systems
(both GSM and CDMA) are becoming overloaded with antennas in same cases and with
the introduction of the third generation communication systems there will be a need for
new antennas for those cellular base stations. Figure 1 shows a typical 3-sector antenna
configuration providing both GSM and CDMA coverage. Figure 2 shows a typical base
station that is shared by several service providers. Placing new antennas for third
Chapter 1 - Introduction
generation mobile systems on same base stations might overload the support structures
and provide visually unattractive base stations.

Figure 1.1 Standard 3-sector base station with GSM and CDMA antennas.

Figure 1.2 A shared cellular base station.

There is an increasing demand for new types of base station antennas that will replace
current planar panel antennas shown in figures above. These new base station antennas
will need to operate in both 2G and 3G frequency band, being either dual-band or multi-
band, and replace current sectored antennas by a single antenna. This will offer less
overloaded and more aesthetically attractive base stations.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
One of the most important innovations in modern antenna technology is a conformal
antenna array. Conformal antennas are non planar and their curvature is shaped to
match a given surface. Cylindrical antenna arrays have attracted the greatest attention
amongst conformal antennas and their applications include mobile cellular base stations,
airborne radar and mobile satellite communication terminals.
Figure 3, taken from [2], shows an example of a developed four-element conformal
cylindrical array. Cylindrical antennas are chosen for cellular base stations due to the
360 field of view, radiation pattern independent of azimuth pointing and a smaller
number of components than in an equivalent systems made of planar arrays. The most
recent demand for cylindrical array antennas concerns the Wide-band Code Division
Multiple Access (WCDMA) system, which in standardisation forums, has emerged as
the most widely adopted third generation (3G) air interface.

Figure 1.3 Front view of a cylindrical (conformal) antenna array [2].

Thesis Objectives

The aim of this thesis will be to gain detailed understanding of characteristics and
performances of cylindrical arrays for potential future use in the third-generation
communication systems, in particular the WCDMA systems. In particular the effects of
curvature on the radiation pattern will be studied as well as the effects of different
element spacing for various curvature radii. Mutual coupling will also be investigated
and its effects on the radiation pattern observed.

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Thesis Overview

Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction into current and future cellular base station
antennas with the description of the thesis objectives.
Chapter 2 discusses some most common types of antennas commercially available and
the fundamental parameters are described that are used to evaluate antennas
Chapter 3 looks at cellular base station antennas, discusses some most common types of
base station antennas found in commercial markets and gives an insight into their
manufacturing and performing aspects.
Chapter 4 deals with antenna system selections particularly for 3G applications. It
discusses their performance criteria and deals with some important aspects when
implementing them in 3G cellular networks.
Chapter 5 describes basic cellular system fundamentals. It gives a brief introduction
into the communication using base stations. It describes then some most common
channel characteristics found in cellular network environments. Various cellular
configuration systems are briefly discussed and the chapter concludes with the
discussion of different handoff methods available.
Chapter 6 discusses all three generations of mobile communication systems and
examples of most widely used systems are given.
Chapter 7 introduces the Wideband CDMA which is the most common used air
interface in 3G mobile communication systems.
Chapter 8 describes conformal antenna array with emphasis on cylindrical arrays that
forms the basis of this thesis. Some most common feeding and bandwidth enhancing
techniques are discussed. The patterns of cylindrical antenna arrays are described with
emphasis on the grating lobes and patterns of sector arrays on cylinders. The chapter
concludes with comparison of planar and cylindrical sector arrays.
Chapter 9 describes the design procedure of the single element microstrip patch which
would form the basis for the antenna array design.
Chapter 10 explains the design of the three-element conformal array that is based on the
design results obtained in chapter 9 and the simulation results of the array are presented.
Chapter 11 analyses and discusses the results obtained from simulations.
Chapter 12 concludes the work performed in this thesis with objectives of future work.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 2


An antenna is usually defined as the structure associated with region of transition
between a guided wave and a free-space wave, or vice versa [27]. On transmission, an
antenna accepts electromagnetic energy from a transmission line (coaxial cable or
waveguide) and radiates it into space, and on reception, an antenna collects the
electromagnetic energy from an incident wave and sends it through the transmission
In ideal conditions it is desirable that the energy generated by the source is totally
transferred to the antenna. However in practice this total transfer of energy is not
possible due to conduction-dielectric losses and lossy nature of the transmission line
and the antenna. Also if the transmission line is not properly matched to the antenna
there will be reflection losses at their interface. Therefore it is very important that the
characteristic impedance of the antenna is matched to the impedance of the antenna.
In wireless communication systems the antenna is one of the most critical components.
A good design of antenna can improve overall system performance and reduce system
requirements. In order to meet the system requirements of todays mobile and wireless
communication systems and the increasing demand on their performances, many
advancements in the field of antenna engineering have occurred in the last few decades.

Types of Antennas

Many types of antennas have been developed to date that are used in radio and
television broadcast, cellular and wireless phone communications, marine and satellite
communications and many other applications. In this section only few common forms
and various types of antennas will be briefly described.

Chapter 2 - Antennas
Wire Antennas
Wire antennas are seen in everyday life situations- on cars, buildings, ships, aircrafts
and so on. Wire antennas come in various shapes such as straight wire (dipole), loop,
and helix all of which are shown in Figure 2.1. Loop antennas may take the form of a
rectangle, square, ellipse or any other configuration.

Figure 2.1 Wire antenna configurations [17].

Aperture Antennas
Due to the increasing demand for more sophisticated forms of antennas and utilization
of higher frequencies the aperture antenna is more common today. Some forms of
aperture antennas are shown in Figure 2.2. They are used for aircraft and spacecraft
applications because they can be easily flush-mounted on the skin of the aircraft or
spacecraft. Additionally they can be covered with suitable dielectric materials to protect
them from hazardous conditions of the environment in which aircrafts and spacecrafts
usually operate.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 2.2 Aperture antenna configurations [17].

Microstrip Antennas
Microstrip antennas became very popular in the 1970s primarily for space borne
applications. Today they can be found in many other government and commercial
applications. They usually consist of a metallic patch on a grounded substrate and can
take many different configurations, as discussed in later chapters. Rectangular and
circular patches, shown in Figure 2.3, are the most popular because of the ease of
analysis and fabrication and attractive radiation characteristics. Microstrip antennas are
low-profile, conformable to planar and non planar surfaces, simple and inexpensive to
fabricate using modern printed circuit technology. They can be mounted on surface of
high-performance aircraft, spacecraft, satellites, missiles, cars and even mobile phones.
Due to these advantageous characteristics of microstrip antennas they will be further
discussed and subsequently used and analysed in this thesis.

Figure 2.3 Rectangular and circular microstrip patch antennas [17].
Chapter 2 - Antennas

Array Antennas
Many applications require radiation characteristics that can only be achieved if a
number of radiating elements are arranged in a geometrical or an electrical manner that
will result in the desired radiation pattern. The arrangement of such element is called an
array and is used primarily to achieve a radiation pattern in a particular direction or
directions. As will be discussed later, antenna arrays are used in cellular base stations to
create directional patterns covering only desired area. These antennas, which are usually
made up of an array of 4 to 12 elements, are referred to in cellular systems as sectored
or directional antennas and take form of a panel array. Typical examples of arrays are
shown in Figure 2.4.

Figure 2.4 Typical wire, aperture and microstrip array configurations [17].

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Fundamental Parameters of Antennas

Performance of an antenna is usually described in terms of various necessary antenna
parameters. Some of the more important parameters are defined and discussed in this

Radiation Pattern
The antenna radiation pattern is simply a mathematical function or a graphical
representation of the radiation properties of the antenna. The radiation pattern is often
determined in far-field region as function of space or directional coordinates. A
coordinate system for antenna analysis is shown in Figure 2.5.

Figure 2.5 Coordinate system for antenna analysis [17].

Radiation properties include power flux density, radiation intensity, field strength and
polarization. Two- or three-dimensional spatial distribution of radiated energy as a
function of the observers position along a path of constant radius is of the main

Chapter 2 - Antennas
Radiation Pattern Lobes
Radiation pattern of an antenna consists of various parts referred to as lobes, which can
be classified as major, minor, side and back lobes. Figure 2.6 shows a three-dimensional
polar pattern with various radiation lobes. Some have greater radiation intensity then the
others, which is sometimes desirable and undesirable. Figure 2.6(b) shows the same
pattern characteristics in a linear two-dimensional pattern.

Figure 2.6 (a) Radiation lobes and beamwidths of an antenna pattern. (b) Linear plot of
power pattern and its associated lobes and beamwidths [17].

The main beam (or major lobe) contains the direction of maximum radiation. Some
antennas may produce split-beams where there are several main beams. A minor lobe is
any lobe other than the major lobe. A side lobe is a radiation lobe that is in direction
different to the direction of the major lobe and is usually adjacent to the main beam. A
back lobe is referred to as the radiation lobe that is 180
away from the main beam. In
another words, it is the minor lobe in direction opposite to that of the major lobe.
Minor lobes usually represent radiation in undesired directions. The level of side lobes
is usually expressed as a ratio of the power density in the minor lobe to that of the major
lobe. Side lobe ratios of 20 dB or higher are desirable in most mobile communication
and cellular systems application.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Because most antennas are passive devices, they can achieve gain in one direction only
at the expense of gain in another direction. These gain antennas cause the signal to be
relatively stronger in one direction than another. For most mobile applications upward
and downward radiations are not desirable, so minimizing radiation in these directions
while concentrating it in the forward direction is advantageous.

Antenna with a voltage standing-wave-ratio (VSWR) of 1.0 will transmit all of the
power presented to it. As VSWR rises, an increasing amount of power will be reflected.
It is generally accepted that a VSWR of 1.5 - 1.7 is the highest acceptable values for a
cellular antenna. So an antenna with a VSWR of 1.5 will reflect 4 percent of the total

The bandwidth of an antenna is the range of frequencies over which the VSWR remains
below 1.5 - 1.7 or some other defined VSWR usually less than 2. The VSWR will vary
as a function of frequency. Occasionally the bandwidth will be specified for a VSWR of
2.0 and such an antenna will not be as good a match as one specified to a VSWR of 1.5.

Because the gain of an antenna is a result of pattern compression, there will generally be
a direction in which there is maximum gain, as seen in Figure 2.6. The beamwidth is
defined by the two points that define the half-power levels (down 3dB).

Front-to-Back Ratio
The front to back ratio is ordinarily measured as the ratio of the gain of the maximum
lobe compared to the gain at 180 degrees to that direction. As can be seen in Figure 2.6,
that number may not give a true impression of the actual power levels that are scattered
in the backward direction.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 3

Cellular Base Station Antennas

This chapter will briefly discuss various types of cellular base station antennas currently
available and employed in commercial and government cellular radio networks.
Differences between omni-directional, sector and panel arrays are described following a
brief discussion about issues in antenna construction and manufacturing developments.

Antenna Construction

The earliest cellular antennas were simple dipoles and sector antennas derived from
dipoles (dipoles surrounded by reflector). These devices served the industry well and
are still the mainstay of small and rural networks. Later came the antennas with
mechanical downtilt. These antennas, while simple in concept were the source of many
network problems. The mechanical downtilt distorted the azimuth beam pattern and
often gave unpredictable results. A further improvement in the early 1990s was
electrical downtilt, which relied on phasing of the antennas and produced an undistorted
downtilted pattern.
Experiments showed and theory predicts that the polarization of a signal that had
travelled extensively in a mobile environment was no longer vertical. Further studies
showed that two cross-polarized antennas received signal that were sufficiently
uncorrelated and that they provided diversity similar to that of two spatially separated
vertically polarized antennas. These cross-polarized antennas could be mounted into a
single radome, thus giving diversity with half the number of antennas.

Antenna Manufacturing Developments

The most recent development in cellular base station antennas has been cross-polarized
antenna with downtilt. These antennas come with electrical and mechanical downtilt
capabilities and additional option of a remote control downtilt unit.
Chapter 3 - Cellular Base Station Antennas
Increasingly there is the need for dual-band and in some cases triple band antennas. One
elegant solutions comes from the Australian antenna manufacturer Argus Technologies
Pty Ltd which has range of dual-band antennas (900/1800 MHz) that utilise dual-slant
(+/- 45
) or cross-polarization technique. They also have a new range of WCDMA
(1910 2190 MHz) panel antennas with cross-polarization and various gain and
horizontal beamwidth specifications. In Europe Kathrein Antennen currently have triple
band cross-polarized panel antennas (824-960/1710-1880/1920-2170 MHz). Other
major antenna manufactures are Deltec/Andrews and Andrews USA which all
manufacture similar products for their respective cellular standards. Cellular panel
antennas are major products but they also manufacture range of picocell, microcell and
street antennas. Indoor and in-building antennas are also very popular manufacturing

Omni-directional Antennas

An omni-directional antenna is usually collinear dipole (a number of dipoles in a line
with a phasing harness). Figure 3.1 shows an omni-directional antenna. In an omni-
directional antenna, a power divider many be required to phase a number of dipoles
within the one gain antenna or to connect two antennas to the one feed line.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 3.1 An omni-directional antenna constructed from a collinear
array of dipoles [25].

The quarter-wave transformer shown in Figure 3.2 is a simple power divider. Because
the power divider is fed inside the antenna, the internal wiring harness is quite complex.
A cellular omni-directional antenna is usually of this kind and it has a good wide-band

Figure 3.2 A 50-ohm power divider [25].
Chapter 3 - Cellular Base Station Antennas
Sector Antennas

Sector antennas usually have higher gain than omni-directional antennas. Typically they
have a gain in the range of 14 dBi to 19 dBi. Sector antennas may combine the power
gains obtained by using phased arrays with the additional gains obtained by using
reflectors. Figure 3.3 shows a WCDMA sector antenna (panel antenna) with 17-dBi
gain. Table 3.1 lists the specification for the antenna shown in Figure 3.3. Often antenna
pattern are simplified to show only the major lobe and the minor lobes are forgotten.
Horizontal and vertical radiation patterns for the WCDMA panel antenna shown below
are illustrated in Figure 3.3a on the next page.

Frequency Range 1910 MHz - 2190 MHz.
Gain 17 dBi
Return Loss >15.5 dB
Polarization Vertical
Horizontal Beamwidth 65
Vertical Beamwidth 7 with nullfill
Electrical Downtilt 0 to 10 continuously adjustable
Upper Sidelobe Level <-18 dB
Front to Back Ratio >30 dB
Power Rating 300 W continuous
Intermodulation <-150 dBc for 2 x 40 dBm carriers
Impedance 50 ohm
Lightning Protection DC grounded
Connector Type 7-16 DIN female
Antenna Dimensions 1300x185x100 mm
Packed Dimensions 1840X230X150 mm
Antenna Weight 7.5kg
Temperature -40C to +70C
Humidity 95% RH @ +30C
Rated Wind Velocity 200Km/h
Lateral Loading 0.36kN @ 160 km/h (Front)
Rain >140mm per hour

Figure 3.3 WCDMA
base-station panel
antenna with 17-dBi gain.

Table 3.1 WCDMA base-station panel antenna specifications.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 3.3a Radiation patterns for the WCDMA panel antenna.

A low-gain antenna will have much broader major lobe and far fewer minor lobes than
its high-gain counterpart. This is because the lobes are the products interference
between the radiation patterns of the various elements that make up the antenna.
Because high-gain antennas have more elements, they generate more interactions. The
result is that high-gain antennas, far from having nulls below them, are likely to have
quite significant downward radiation. Polar diagrams that depict the vertical radiation
pattern usually have a liner scale so that any lobes that appear significant on the diagram
will be around 10-20 dB down from the main lobe. Back lobes in particular make even
high-gain antennas susceptible to interference for distant mobiles. This interference
immunity can be improved by mounting the antenna so that power in the backward
direction is decreased for example by mounting the antenna against the side of a wall.

Panel Arrays

Panel arrays have recently found applications in cellular radio networks. They usually
consist of a number of dipoles stacked horizontally as well as vertically. Modern panel
antennas are physically smaller and less obtrusive than the conventional corner
reflector. Hence they are more suitable for mounting on buildings and in places where
aesthetics are important. The panel antenna shown in Figure 3.4 features both
mechanical and electrical downtilt.

Chapter 3 - Cellular Base Station Antennas

Figure 3.4 A panel antenna operable from 820 MHz to 960 MHz [25].

Panel antennas are becoming increasingly more popular. Although they have somewhat
higher wind loadings than the conventional corner reflector, they are less conspicuous
and they are believed to be more reliable. This is very useful when convincing the
building owner to allow the rooftop to be used for an installation. Typical panel
antennas are sometimes constructed using microstrip line technology where the
radiating patches are etched in a process similar to that used on printed circuit board.
The patch antenna is a microstiop that is either square or rectangular shape and is
mounted onto a dielectric substrate, with a conducting ground-plane backing. Microstrip
antennas are described in details in later chapter.
Antennas with a bandwidth sufficiently wide to permit the same unit to cover both the
code division multiple access (CDMA) and the Global System for Mobile (GSM)
system band are now commercially available. By the use of appropriate phasing these
antennas can be designed to have half-power bandwidths from 60 degrees to 120
degrees and so meet all requirements of cellular sector antennas.

Antennas with Downtilt

Antennas with built-in downtilt have become widely available and are often used in
commercial cellular radio networks. Some panel antennas have combined electrical and
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
mechanical downtilt typically with up to 6 degrees of mechanical tilt and up to 10
degrees of electrical tilt. For the mechanical tilt there is usually a calibrated scale and
the electrical tilt is given by an indicator. The difference between mechanical and
electrical tilt is that electrical tilt shifts the whole transmission, whereas mechanical tilt
will change pattern in different ways for different directions. Electrical tilt is
accomplished by phasing the feeds of the elements that make up the antenna. The main
purpose of downtilt is to reduce the coverage and hance reduce the potential
interference with distant cells. They can also be employed to increase the frequency
reuse factor and for this they are highly effective.


Panel antennas are usually either 9dB omni-directional or 14dB to 18dB, 60-degree to
120-degree sector antennas. Diversity reception is frequently used and antennas should
be mounted as shown in Figure 3.5. Diversity results in an effective 6dB improvement
in the receive path where diversity combiners are used. Due to multipath fading two
receive antennas are usually used for diversity combining and this configuration ensures
acceptable isolation and diversity reception. The separation for effective diversity
performance depends on the height of the base station; usually 1/10 of the antenna

Figure 3.5 Antenna mounting for a 30-meter tower [25].

Diversity works best at right angles to the plane of the antennas. There is virtually no
diversity effect in the plane of the antennas because when the antennas are in line they
receive signal for the same path and so the multipath effect advantage cannot be taken.
Chapter 3 - Cellular Base Station Antennas
If switching diversity is used for two antennas in the plane of the received signal the
second antenna will contribute virtually zero gain whereas for combining diversity the
gain will be 3 dB (the power in two antennas will be added).
Vertical diversity can also be used but it generally requires greater physical separation
to achieve the same results. For diversity to work well it is necessary that two antennas
have the same gain and thus contribute equally to the received signal. It is also
important that the base station height is large compared to the antenna separation
otherwise the diversity will not work well.
There are two types of diversity receivers; the diversity-combining receiver which
aligns the phases of the incoming signals and then adds them and the switched-diversity
receiver which chooses the best of the two signal paths and switches to that path. A gain
of 6 dB can be obtained using the first method and a gain of 3 dB of the second method.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 4

Antenna System Selection for 3G Applications

This chapter will discuss some important issues in selection of antenna systems for 3G
applications. There are various technology platforms but technically the selection of the
antenna type for base station is similar whether it is for a macro, micro or pico cell.
There are differences related to different design issues associated with the 1G, 2G, 2.5G
or 3G systems. The major difference in the antenna design issues is the need to keep the
system separate or united with the new overlayed system and the underlaying
technology platform.

It is essential to understand and choose the right antenna system for any mobile
communication platform. The antenna system is the interface between the mobile radio
system and the external radio environment. The base station may have only a single
antenna and one at the mobile station. Primarily the antenna is used to establish and
maintain the communication link between the base station and the mobile. There are
many types of antenna available, all of which perform specific functions depending on
the application at hand. They may also be passive or active antennas. The active antenna
usually uses some electronics to enhance its performance and passive antenna has no
electronics associated with its use and it simply consists entirely of passive elements.

The relative pattern of the antenna is another important factor. It indicates in what
direction the energy emitted or received from it will be directed. Primarily there are two
types related to the directivity; omni and directional antennas. Omni antennas are used
to obtain equal coverage in 360 degree field of view. The directional pattern is usually
needed to facilitate system growth through frequency reuse. The choice of which
antenna to use will directly impact the performance of either the cell or the overall
network. The correct antenna for the design can overcome coverage problems. Some
parameters important to look for during design of the base station involve antenna gain,
Chapter 4 - Antenna System Selection for 3G Applications
antenna pattern, bandwidth and frequency range of the desired signals, power handling
capabilities and the interface to the transmitter.

There are multitude of antenna that can be used at a base station. However what
compromises an antenna or antenna system is determined by the design objectives of
the site. For 3G and 2.5G cellular systems most of the antenna selections will depend on
the type of the base station they will be employed at. The antenna system will definitely
be different between macro and pico cells. For base station there are either the omni
antennas or directional antennas that were mentioned earlier. Before selecting the
antenna for a base station following issues need to be looked at:

Elevation and azimuth pattern meet the requirement
Antenna exhibits the proper gain desired
Mounting and installation capabilities
Tower and wind loading effects of antenna
Visual impact
Antenna meets the desired performance specifications required

Antenna Performance Criteria

The performance of an antenna is not restricted to its gain characteristics and physical
maintenance. With introduction of 3G platforms these performance issues need to be
reviewed. Some of the parameters that define the performance of an antenna are as
Antenna pattern
Antenna polarization
Main lobe
Antenna bandwidth
Side lobe suppression
Front-to-back ratio
Input impedance
Power dissipation
Radiation efficiency
Intermodulation suppression
Horizontal Beamwidth
Vertical Beamwidth

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
With introduction of 3G platforms some 2G and existing antenna systems need to be re-
configured. This could involve the replacement or addition of more antennas in order to
meet the design and performance criteria of the new system. These parameters are
described below in relation to the antenna selection.

The base station antenna should be chosen so that the antenna pattern matches the
coverage requirements. If three-sector base station is designed then the antenna pattern
should be 120 degrees which would cover only one of the three sectors. In some cases
there are 6 sectors in which case the antenna pattern should be about 60 degrees each.
Care must also be taken when selecting an antenna with electrical downtilt that may not
be specified sometimes.

One should also look at the levels of side lobes that a particular antenna might have.
This is important since side lobes are able to cause interference to adjacent cells. Ideally
an antenna with no side lobes is required but it is not possible in practice. Sidelobes are
more important when performing downtilting because it can increase the amount of

The radiation efficiency for an antenna is often not referenced but it should be
considered. It is given as the ratio of total power radiated by an antenna to the net power
that is accepted by an antenna. This number indicates how much power is lost in the
antenna itself. Ideally an antenna with close to 100 percent is required in most cases.

The gain of an antenna is also of big importance. It is the ratio of the radiation intensity
in a given direction to that of an isotropically radiated signal. The amount of elements in
the antenna is usually related to the gain. Usually for every doubling of the amount of
elements a gain of 3dB is realized. However the gain comes at the expense of the
beamwidth which gets halved for 3dB increase in gain.

The bandwidth defines the operating range of the frequencies for the antenna. It must be
selected with great care to account for current and future configuration options with the
same cell site. For example an antenna should be selected with same performance in the
transmit and receive band so that in case one transmit antenna fails one of the receive
antennas can be switched on internally in the cell to act as transmit antenna.
Chapter 4 - Antenna System Selection for 3G Applications

The front to back ratio defines how much energy is radiated in the opposite direction to
the main lobe of the antenna. This is only applicable to directional antennas. The front
to back ratio is not important when mounting antenna against side of buildings or walls
however when antenna is mounted somewhere where there is no obstruction the front to
back ratio must be taken into account.


There are several types of diversity that need to be accounted for in both the legacy
systems as well as 2.5G and 3G platforms. This is usually considered on the receive
path, uplink from the mobile to the base station. Transmit diversity is introduced for 2.5
and 3G platforms where the subscriber does not need a second antenna. Types of
antenna diversity are listed below:


Most 2G systems use two antennas that a separated by a physical horizontal distance.
This method deploys only two antennas per sector for receive diversity. Diversity
spacing is the physical separation between the receive antenna that is needed to ensure
that the proper fade margin protection is available. A rule of thumb used to determine
the required horizontal separation is given below.

h/d = 11 where h = height above ground
d = distance between antennas
This rule of thumb can be verified from Figure 3.4 where the 30 meter tower has
minimum of 3 meter spatial separation between the two receive antennas. This rule is
used firstly in the 800 MHz band but has been successfully applied in 1800 and 1900
MHz bands.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
With introduction of UMTS, the application of transmit diversity needs to be considered
into the antenna design. There are two different transmit diversity schemes possible for
the 3G systems. They are the space transmit diversity (STD) and orthogonal transmit
diversity (OTD) and their description is beyond the scope of this thesis.

Different dB Units

The term dB is often used in radio systems and was introduced to define relative power
levels logarithmically. It can be very confusing because of the large number of different
units of dBs. Essentially the dB level is the log of a power ratio and dBm is the power
measured compared to 1 milliwatt.

e.g. Power dBm = 10log [power (in watts)/0.001]
1 watt = 10log 1/0.001 = 30 dBm

Literature and manufactures specifications may often use different dB units and
therefore it is necessary to convert from either dBi to dBd or from dBd to dBi.

To convert from dBi to dBd, the following formula is used:

dBd = dBi 2.14

Similarly to convert from from dBd to dBi, the following formula is used:

dBi = 2.14 + dBd

Smart Antennas

Smart antennas are being introduced into commercial wireless communication systems.
The smart antenna systems can be configured for either receive only or full duplex
operations. With WCDMA the use of smart antenna systems is supported directly,
unlike 1G and 2G, with the use of auxiliary and dedicated pilot channels.
Chapter 4 - Antenna System Selection for 3G Applications
Smart antennas were initially designed to provide increase to the signal to noise ratio of
a sector. It is usually based on use of narrower radiation beam pattern that will provide
increased gain and can be directed toward the users and at the same time offer less gain
to the interferers by pointing the radiation beam nulls in their direction. Smart antennas
are now also being used to uniformly balance traffic between sectors and cells and
improve on the system performance through reduction in soft handoffs for CDMA

There are three types of smart antenna systems available that are depicted in Figure 4.1
below. They can either be receive only or full duplex configurations. The difference
between the two lies in the amount of antennas and transmitting elements in the cell site

Figure 4.1 Smart Antenna Systems: (a) Switched Antennas; (b) Multiple Beam
Array; (c) Steered-Beam Array [23].

The beam switching antenna arrangement is simplest to implement and usually involves
four standard antennas with narrow beamwidth. The appropriate antenna will be
selected by the base station for use in the receive path based on the received signal
The multiple beam array relies on antenna matrix to perform the beam switching. The
beam steering however uses phase shifting to direct the beam toward the desired user.
They are located directly behind each antenna element. This direction selection will
affect the entire sector. The use of electronics on the tower, such as the tower mounted
amplifiers (TMA) and phase shifters, will provide better receive sensitivity and
maximum transmit power for the site.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 5

Cellular System Fundamentals


This chapter presents fundamental concepts of cellular systems by detailing various
terminology used in these systems. It also provides explanations on some common

The concept of cellular systems was first invented by Bell Laboratories in late 70s and
the first commercial analogue voice system was introduced in 1983 in USA. The first
standard used was the Advanced Mobile Phone Systems (AMPS) which was used for
the design of the first generation analogue cordless phone and cellular systems. Many
similar standard were then developed around the world such as Total Access
Communication System (TACS), Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) 450 and NMT 900
in Europe, European Total Access Communication System (ETACS) in UK, C-450 in
Germany and Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT), JTACS and NTACS in Japan.

Second-generation systems were designed to use digital transmission in contrast to the
first analogue systems. These systems include the Global System for Mobile (GSM) and
DCS 1800, North American dual-mode cellular system Interim Standard (IS-54) and IS-
95 and the Japanese Personal Digital Cellular system (PDC).

The third-generation (3G) mobile communication systems are commonly associated
under the names of Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and
International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT-2000). These systems should provide
advanced communication services (video, sound and data), having wideband
capabilities, using a single standard.

Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Cellular Fundamentals

A cell is a term known as the area that is served by mobile phone system. Each cell
contains one base station that is used to communicate with mobiles in that cell. It does
so by transmitting and receiving signal on two radio link; one from base station to the
mobile (down-link) and one from mobile to the base station (up-link). Each base station
is connected to a mobile switching centre (MSC) that connects calls to and from the
base station to mobiles in other cells. The MSC is associated with a Public Switching
Telephone Network (PSTN). The figure below depicts a typical setup using base station
and switching centres.

Figure 5.1 Typical cellular system setup [24].

Communication Using Base Stations

A base station communicates with mobile using control channels that carry control
information and traffic channels that carry messages. Control channels are continuously
used by the base station to transmit control information. When a mobile phone is
switched on, it first scans the control channels and tunes to the one with the strongest
signal. It then exchanges identification and authorization information with the base
station and is ready to receive or send calls.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
A Call from a Mobile

When a mobile phone initiates a call it first sends the required number to the base
station which then sends this information to the MSC. The MSC assigns a traffic
channel to this call and this information is send to the mobile via the base station. The
mobile switches to this channel and the switching centre then completes the rest of the

A Call to a Mobile

When a mobile is being called, the call first arrives at the MSC. The MSC then sends a
paging message to all base stations it is associated with. A mobile tuned to a control
channel detects its number in the paging message and responds in similar way to the
nearest serving base station. The base station informs the MSC about the location of the
mobile. The MSC then assigns a traffic channel to the call and relays this information to
the mobile via the base station. The mobile tunes to this traffic channel and the call is

The paging process can become very impractical and costly if there is large number of
base stations associated with the MSC. This is usually avoided by registration procedure
where a roaming phone registers with the nearest MSC. This information is then stored
with the switching centre of the area or the home switching centre of the mobile where
it is permanently registered. Once a call is received for this mobile, its home switching
centre contacts the switching centre where the mobile is currently roaming. Paging in
the vicinity of the previous known location helps to locate the mobile.

Channel Characteristics

It is important to have a solid understanding of channel characteristics and propagation
conditions in order to efficiently use the transmission medium. This section will discuss
issues relating to channel characteristics such as fading channels, Doppler spread and
delay spread and also link budget and path loss.

Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Fading Channels

The signal arriving at a base station is combination of many signals arriving from
different direction as result of multipath propagation. This is usually due to different
terrain conditions, buildings and structures which cause the received signal to fluctuate
randomly as a function of distance. This is called fading.

One can consider the signal to be made up of two components, short-term and long-term
fading. The short-term components changes faster than the long-term and has a
Rayleigh distribution. The long-term component or slow-varying has lognormal
distribution. A movement in a mobile receiver causes it to encounter fluctuations in the
received power. This directly depends on the frequency of the transmission and the
speed of the mobile.

Doppler Spread

Doppler shift occurs due to the relative movement in a mobile which also causes the
transmitted frequency to differ from the received frequency. Doppler Spread can be
viewed as the spreading of the transmitted frequency. The rate of fluctuations in the
observed signal is associated with the Doppler spread in frequency domain.

Delay Spread

Due to the multipath effects in the propagation environment the mobile may receive
multiple and delayed copies of the same signal resulting in the spreading of the signal in
time, as shown in Figure 5.2. For example, the rms delay spread may be in order of
nanoseconds in urban areas and 100 microseconds in hilly areas. This would restrict the
maximum signal bandwidth between 40 and 250 kHz. This bandwidth is called
coherence bandwidth over which the channel has constant gain and linear phase.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 5.2 Multipath propagation leads to a multipath delay profile [21].

For signals which have bandwidth larger than the coherence bandwidth the gain and
phase characteristics become frequency selective. This is when intersymbol interference
(ISI) occurs in digital communications. It usually happens when the rms delay spread is
larger than the symbol duration and the channel becomes frequency selective.

Link Budget and Path Loss

Link budgets are the main process of estimating the required power at the receiver and
taking into account the losses and attenuation in signal caused by the transmission
medium and distance between the receiver and the transmitter. These losses are referred
to as the path loss. In free space the path loss is proportional to the square of the
distance, i.e. the received power drops by one quarter by doubling the distance between
the receiver and transmitter.
For mobile communication environment with fading channels the distance power varies
and depends on propagation conditions. In indoor areas it ranges from less than factor of
two to about six in metal buildings. For urban areas the path loss between the base
station and the cell site is often taken as the forth power of the distance between the
base and the cell.
Link budgets are normally done by calculating the carrier to noise ration (CNR). In
mobile communication environments the noise created by other mobile units is more
dominant than the background and thermal noise of the system. These systems are
therefore more limited by the amount of total interference present than the background
noise. For mobile communications the signal to interference (SIR) is limiting factor
compared to the signal to noise ratio (SNR) in other communication systems.
Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Channel Reuse

Channel reuse can be understood from figures below that show cluster of three cells.
Channel is normally used to denote a frequency, time slot or a code. The number of
channels in a system is limited which limits the capacity of the system. One way of
increasing this capacity is by using each channel to carry many calls simultaneously.
Using the same channel again and again is option that is normally referred to as channel

In the figure below cells use three separate sets of channels which is indicated by a
letter. In Figure 5.3 this cluster is repeated to indicate that three sets of channels are
being reused in different cells.


Figure 5.3 Channel reuse method in cellular systems.

If the number N cells in a cluster and it is repeated X times over the same area then the
system capacity is increased to XF where F is the total number of channels in the
system. The cluster size N determines the frequency reuse factor 1/N. It is sometimes
referred to as N frequency reuse plan. The cluster size is an important parameter. For a
given cell size as the cluster size is decreased more clusters and cells are needed to
cover the given area. This leads to more reuse of channels and hence the system
capacity increases. Maximum capacity is achieved when cluster size is one and
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
therefore all channels are reused in each cell. CDMA systems have frequency reuse
factor of 1 and so no frequency planning is required.

The cells using the same set of channels are known as co-channel cells. The distance
between co-channel cells is called the co-channel distance and the interference caused
by these cells is called the co-channel interference. This interference needs to be
minimized by decreasing the power transmitted by the base stations and increasing the
co-channel distance. Transmitted power depends on the cell size so the minimum
interference is attained by minimum co-channel distance. To have a proper functioning
system a trade-off between the system capacity and co-channel interference needs to be

Multiple Access Schemes

There are basically four different multiple access schemes that are used to share the
available spectrum bandwidth. These are frequency division multiple access (FDMA),
time division multiple access (TDMA), code division multiple access (CDMA) and
space division multiple access (SDMA).

Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA)

In FDMA the available spectrum is divided into a number of channels each with a
certain bandwidth and individual users use the entire channel bandwidth for the duration
of the call. All first-generation systems have used FDMA scheme.

Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)

In TDMA a particular frequency band is shared by many users, each allocated a given
timeslot during the call. Each user uses the allocated bandwidth only for the duration of
the time slot after which a new time slot is assigned to the user. Based on its data rate
within the frame for uplink and downlink the call is allocated number of time slots.
Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Each time slot also carries other data for synchronisation, guard times and control

Time division multiplex (TDM) is used on the downlink and on the uplink each mobile
transmits in its own allocated time slot. Guard times, similar to guard bands in FDMA
are used to prevent overlap between different time slots that may suffer from
propagation delays. Very precises slot synchronisation schemes are also employed to
prevent time slots from overlapping.

As mentioned above the TDMA scheme is used along with the FDMA scheme because
there are different frequency bands allocated to each cell. The traffic in two directions is
separated using either frequency division duplex (FDD) or time division duplex (TDD).
The FDD scheme uses less bandwidth than TDD scheme and does not require the
precise synchronisation of data normally required in TDD schemes. TDD however
offers more flexibility it terms of bandwidth allocation in uplink and downlink.

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)

This scheme is also known as direct sequence (DS), spread-spectrum. It enables
multiple users to occupy the same radio channel (frequency spectrum) at the same time.
Each of the users utilizes a unique code to differentiate themselves from the other users.
These unique codes are generated with wideband pseudo noise (PN) sequence
generators. They are used to spread the spectrum of the modulated signal over a large
bandwidth. Therefore various CDMA signals occupy the same bandwidth and appear as
noise to each other.

For each different call the user is allocated an individual code that is used both for
spreading the signal during transmission and used to recover the signal at the receiver.
The only way the receiver can distinguish between the desired signal and the noise is by
knowing the code that was used at the receiver to spread the signal. All the other signals
at the receiver will appear as pure noise. CDMA uses FDD for uplink and downlink
traffic. On downlink the base station transmits to all users synchronously to preserve the
orthogonality of different codes assigned to different users. However on the uplink each
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
user transmits independently from other users and thus the transmission is
asynchronous. PN sequence codes are designed to be orthogonal to each other so that
only the desired receiver can decode the signal and to appear as noise to the other
receivers. This is the case on the downlink and on the uplink the situation is different.
On the uplink signals arriving from different mobiles are not orthogonalized because of
the asynchronous transmission. This causes problems to the base station when it is
trying to receiver a weak signal from a mobile that is located far away in the cell if there
is presence of a strong signal from a nearby mobile. This is known as near-far
problem and occurs when the DS signal from a nearby mobile is much stronger than the
DS signal from a distant mobile and makes detection difficult. This is usually prevented
using power control methods by controlling the power transmitted from various mobile
so that received signals at the base station are almost of equal strength.

A significant advantage of CDMA is the fact that it practically eliminates frequency
planning since it uses a frequency reuse factor of 1. It allows a given RF carrier to be
reused in every cell and therefore there is no need for expensive retuning of the network
when a new cell is added.

Space Division Multiple Access (SDMA)

The SDDMA schemes controls the radiated energy for each user in space. It serves
different users by using spot beam antennas. It exploits the directivity and beam
forming capability of an antenna array to reduce co-channel interference. So by
employing space diversity it is possible that simultaneous calls in a cell could be
established. This method would allow the increase in capacity of a cellular system.

Signal arriving from a distant source reaches different antennas in an array at different
times as a result of their spatial distribution. This delay would be used to differentiate
one or more users in one area from those in different area. This scheme would allow
effective transmission to take place between a base station and a mobile without
disturbing the transmission to other mobiles. Therefore instead of using a fixed cell size
a more dynamic cell can be shaped to reflect the user hot spots.

Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Comparison of Different Multiple Access Schemes

In this section some advantages and disadvantages of different multiple access schemes
are discussed.

TDMA has number of advantages:

base station only requires one set of common radio equipment
variable date rates easily achieved by changing the number of time slots
allocated to the user
does not require tighter power control as CDMA because the interference is
controlled by time slot and frequency allocations

Some disadvantages are:

requires complex time synchronization of different user data
complex portable RF unit

CDMA has characteristics that give distinct advantages over other:

ability to reject delayed multipath signals and thus reduce the multipath fading
uses RAKE receiver to combine different multipath components to reduce
multipath fading
frequency reuse factor of 1, therefore same frequency channel used in
neighbouring cells and thus increase system capacity
speech activators used to increase capacity and allow efficient use of the
spectrum during non-active periods in a speech

Cellular Configuration

Depending on the cell size a cellular configuration are commonly knows as a macrocell,
a microcell or a picocell. Some characteristics of these configurations are described
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Macrocell System

A macrocell system is a cellular system having cell size of several kilometres. Base
stations in these systems transmit several watts of power from usually high towers.
There is no line of sight between the base station and mobiles and thus a typical
received signal suffers form multipath fading. The signals also experiences spreading of
several microseconds due to this propagation condition.

Microcell Systems

In microcell systems cells are usually split up with a radius of about one kilometre. Base
stations typically transmit less than 1W of power from antennas mounted on smaller
towers or on side of buildings. Due to the small cell size and the line of sight between
the base station and mobiles the rms delay spread is only few tens of nanoseconds
compared with a few microseconds in macrocell systems. Therefore data rates and
maximum bit rates in microcell systems are higher than in macrocell systems, about
1Mbps compared to about 300 kbps. Microcell systems are usefull in providing
coverage along roads and highways. Depending on how antennas are mounted on
intersections and corners, various cell plans are possible.

Picocell Systems

Picocell systems usually have a cell size of less than 100 m. These systems usually
cover large rooms, shopping centres, underground stations or small inner city streets.
Antennas are usually mounted below rooftop levels or in buildings. In-building areas
have different propagation conditions than those covered by microcell or macrocell and
thus require different considerations. Picocell and microcell systems are sometimes
referred to as cordless systems and cellular systems are usually associated with
macrocell systems. It is suggested to use radio frequencies in 18 GHz band for in-
building systems because they dont penetrate concrete walls and steel structures thus
eliminating the problem of co-channel interference. These systems offer very large
bandwidth and require millimeter size antennas that are easily manufactured and
Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals

Cell Splitting and Cell Sectorisation

Each cell has a limited channel capacity and thus can only serve a limited mobiles at a
given time. Once the limit is exceeded the cell is further subdivided into smaller cell,
each with its own base station and new frequency. Therefore new power levels are
adjusted normally less than the previous transmitted power. Cell splitting can be very
costly and time consuming for cellular operators. It requires a new frequency planning
assignment which affects the neighbouring cells. Smaller cell sizes will cause the
number of handoffs to increase which affects the traffic in control channels.
Cell sectorization is referred to cell being subdivided into sectors which are served by
the same base station. This is normally done by employing directional antennas which
only radiate the energy in given sector. This method also increases the system capacity
like the cell splitting method. However it is a cheaper options because only one base
station is required to serve all sectors. It helps in reducing the co-channel interference
because the energy is directed only in the direction of the sector and does not interfere
in co-channel cells that are in the opposite direction to the sector. As with the case of
cell splitting, cell sectorization also affects the handoff rate.


For moving mobiles it is very common for it to move away from the serving base
station and approach the cell boundary. At this point the strength and quality of the
received signal is decreasing and it may receive a stronger signal from a neighbouring
base station. The control of the mobile is then handed over to the new base station by
assigning a channel belonging to the new cell. This process is referred to as handoff or
handover. Intercell handoffs occur between two base stations and intracell handoffs
occurs between two channels belonging to the same base station. This usually happens
when the network that monitors the channel finds one of better quality than the one that
is currently used by a mobile. It then decided to move the mobile to this new channel.
It is not desirable to have forced terminated calls and to avoid it there are number of
techniques used. They are reserving channels for handoff, handoff priority schemes and
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
queuing the handoff request. Thus there is the trade off between probability of forced
termination and number of blocking new calls. The queuing method is effective when
handoff requests arrive in groups and there is reasonable likelihood of channel
availability in the future.

The handoff is initiated when the quality of the current channel deteriorates below an
acceptable threshold or a better channel is available. The channel quality is commonly
measured in terms of bit error rate (BER) and received signal strength. The signal
strength usually gives an indication of the distance between the base station and the
mobile. The measurement of various parameters is carried out either at the base station
or at the mobile. Depending who initiates the handoff, there are various possibilities of
implementing handoffs such as network-controlled handoff, mobile-controlled handoff
and mobile-assisted handoff.

Network-Controlled Handoff

Each base stations monitors the strength of the received signal from mobiles in its cell
and also periodic measurements of mobiles in neighbouring cells. The MSC initiates
and completes the handoff. The decision is usually based on the received signal strength
at the base station and neighbouring base station. This method takes few seconds to
complete and is not desirable method in microcellular systems where quick handoffs are

Mobile-Controlled Handoff

This method is independent of the MSC. The mobile monitors the signal strength on its
current channel and measures the signal from neighbouring base station. It initiates the
handoff based on this information and the BER it receives from serving base station. It
requests the neighbouring base station to allocate a new channel and the total handoff
process takes around 100 ms which is suitable for microcell systems.

Chapter 5 - Cellular System Fundamentals
Mobile-Assisted Handoff

In this method the mobile assists the network in making the handoff by sending the
information about received signal strength to the MSC via the base station. The handoff
is initiated and completed by the network in order of 1 s.

Hard Handoff and Soft Handoff

Hard handoff occurs when the communication link is broken with the current base
station and is established again with a new station. There is normally a gap in the
transmission. Hence in hard handoffs the mobile communicates with only one base
station. In soft handoff the mobile communicates and receives the signal from more
than one base station. The network combines the different signals received from the
mobile. This method is mostly used in CDMA systems.
Hard handoff is simpler to implement than the soft handoff and is more appropriate for
TDMA and FDMA systems. However it can cause unnecessary handoffs between two
base stations when the received signal fluctuates. This is avoided by using a hysteresis
margin such that the handoff is not initiated until the difference between the received
signals is more that the margin.

Power Control

Power control in cellular systems is very important process and allows that the mobile
functions properly with received signal being large enough but not too high to cause any
interference to other receivers. This is done by maintaining constant power level at the
receiver by transmitter power control. The receiver tells the transmitter how much
power is required, eg. The base station would control the power level transmitted by the
mobile phone and the mobile phone would control the received power by telling the
transmitter the required level of power it needs to receive. This is done by mobile
monitoring its received power and sending this information to the base station to control
its power transmission. Power control minimizes the co-cell interference and reduces
the near-far problem in CDMA systems.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 6

Mobile Communication Systems

The chapter describes some common first-generation, second-generation and the next
generation, 3G, communication systems used in todays cellular and mobile markets

Introduction from 1G to 3G

First generation (1G) mobile communications systems started in the early to mid
1980s, offering simple wireless voice services based on analogue technology. These
1G systems which provided low quality voice services, were very limited in capacity
and did not extend across geographic areas.
Digital second generation (2G) systems were developed in Europe (mainly GSM, based
on TDMA technology) and the US (mainly IS-95, based on CDMA technology) to
provide better voice quality, higher capacity, global roaming capability as well as lower
power consumption. 2G systems also offer support for simple non-voice services like
Short Messaging Service (SMS). However, different 2G technologies do not
interoperate. There are also difficulties with roaming between GSM and IS-95
countries. In addition, the low bit rate of 2G systems (9.6kbps for GSM) cannot meet
subscriber demands for new and faster non-voice services on the move. Third
generation (3G) systems aim to solve these problems encountered with 2G, by
promising global roaming across 3G standards, as well as support for multimedia
With the advent of 3G systems, and its accompanying mobile applications and
services, mobile devices will become more than just a handheld phone or a basic
electronic organiser. Hybrid devices will appear in the near future, supporting
traditional voice, video streaming and downloads, as well as Internet and Intranet
access. 3Gs high bit rate capabilities will allow the convergence of value-added data
and voice services on the same mobile device. This will dramatically change the way
people communicate, work and carry out their daily lives.
Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems
First-Generation Systems

The first generation communication systems are based on the analogue transmission.
They use frequency modulation for speech services and frequency shift keying (FSK)
for signalling. It uses FDMA to share the allocated spectrum. Some popular 1

generation standards developed around world are: Advanced Mobile Phone Service
(AMPS), Total Access Communication Systems (TACS), Nordic Mobile Telephone
(NMT), Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) and C450. In these systems two
separate frequency channels are used, one for downlink and one for uplink.

AMPS Characteristics

AMPS uses two bands, one for uplink (824 to 849 MHz) and one for downlink (869 to
894 MHz) transmission. Each channel has 30 kHz bandwidth. Uplink and downlink
channels during a two-way connection are separated by 45 MHz. This separation allows
for use of inexpensive duplexers. AMPS typically utilised a cluster of 12
omnidirectional cells or 7 cell cluster with three sectors per cell. Out of 842 available
duplex channels 42 are used as control channels and remaining 790 are used as voice
channels. They are grouped into forward/reverse control or voice channels (FCC/RCC
or FVC/RVC respectively.) Data is sent on FCC and received on RCC by the base
station and mobiles have to be locked on an FCC with strongest signal to receive and
send calls.

N-AMPS, ETACS and Other Systems

The narrowband AMPS (N-AMPS) provides three 10 kHz channels using FDMA in a
30 kHz AMPS channel. Using this system the capacity of the system was increased by a
factor of three. Due to the lower channel bandwidth the signal results in degradation of
audio quality. The European Total Access Communication Systems (ETACS) is same
as the AMPS except that it uses 25 kHz channels instead of the 30 kHz channels used
by AMPS. Parameters of some other analogue systems are shown in the Table 6.1.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Parameters AMPS C450 NMT 450 NTT TACS
Tx Frequency

Mobile 824-849 450-455.74 453-457.5 925-940 890-915
Base Station 869-894 460-465.74 463-467.5 870-885 935-960
30 20 25 25 25
Channel Spacing
45 10 10 55 45
Control signal
data rate (kbps)
10 5.28 1.2 0.3 8
decision is based
received at
base station
received at
base station
received at
base station
received at
base station

Table 6.1 Parameters of some First-Generation Cellular Standards [30].

Second-Generation Systems

generation communication systems are designed to use digital transmission and to
employ TDMA or CDMA multiple access schemes. Some popular 2
standards are: North American dual-mode cellular system IS-54, North American
Interim Standard IS-95, Japanese Personal Digital Cellular system PDC and European
GSM and DCS 1800 systems. IS-95 uses CDMA access scheme whereas the other
standards use the TDMA and all of them employ the FDD duplexing technique. This
section briefly describes some of these systems and other parameters for these systems
are shown in Table 6.2.

Tx Frequencies (MHz)
824-849 890-915 824-849
940-956 and
Base Station
869-894 935-960 869-894
810-826 and
Channel Bandwidth
30 kHz 200 kHz 1250 kHz 25 kHz
Spacing between
channels (MHz)
45 45 45 30/48
Users/Channel 3 8 64 /
Number of Channels 832 124 9 and 10 /
Frame duration (ms) 40 4.615 20 20

Table 6.2 Parameters of various 2
generation communication systems [32].

Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems

IS-136 IS-95 DCS1800 (GSM)
Tx Frequencies

1850-1910 1850-1910 1710-1785 1850-1910
Base Station
1930-1990 1930-1990 1805-1880 1930-1990
Channel Bandwidth
30 kHz 1250 kHz 200 kHz 200 kHz
Multiple Access
Users/Channel 3 64 8 8
Number of Channels 166/332/498 4 -12 325 25/50/75
Frame duration (ms) 40 20 4.615 20

Table 6.3 Parameters of various 2
generation communication systems [32].

United States Digital Cellular (Interim Standard-54)

IS-54 is a digital system which uses TDMA as multiple access technique. It is a dual-
mode system because it shares the same frequency and base stations with AMPS. This
was done to increase system capacity and enable the migration from analog to digital
system. In this system each frequency channel of 30 kHz is divided into six time slots in
each direction. Each user is allocated two time slots for full-rate speech or one time slot
for half-rate speech. IS-54 uses FSK signalling technique for control and /4 DQPSK
for the voice. It has twice the number of control channels than the AMPS thus being
able to carry twice as much traffic in a given area. Each time slot consists of digital
traffic channel for user data and digitised speech and three channels to carry control
information. The three control channels are digital verification colour code (CDVCC),
slow associated control channel (SACCH) and fast associated control channel
(FACCH). SACCH is used to carry control information between base station and
mobile while a call is in progress. It carries information about power level change,
handoff etc. Mobile uses this channel to send signal strength measurement of
neighbouring base stations so that the base station can implement a mobile-assisted

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Personal Digital Cellular System

The Japanese PDC system employs the TDMA technique. Each channel has three time
slots with frame duration of 20 ms. Similarly it supports full-rate and half-rate speech
like IS-54. Channel spacing of 25 kHz is used with /4 DQPSK modulation technique.
Frequency-reuse plan of four is supported and it uses mobile-assisted handoffs.

Code Division Multiple Access Digital Cellular System (Interim

The IS-95 standard uses CDMA as a multiple access technique and occupies the same
frequency band as AMPS. The uplink and downlink channels are separated by 45 MHz.
The carrier occupies a 1.25 MHz bandwidth which is shared among many users.
Users are separated from each other by the use of orthogonal Walsh spreading
sequences. There are total of 64 of these Walsh functions. The user data are grouped
into 20 ms frames and are transmitted at a basic user rate of 9.6 kbps. The chip rate of
1.2288 Mchip/s is used for spreading the signal giving a spreading factor of 128.
CDMA is very resistant to multipath fading due to the use of RAKE receivers at both
base stations and mobiles. This standard allows for soft handover in which the mobile
keeps link with both base stations and combines signals from both the stations to
improve signal quality and combine multipath signals.
The transmission on the downlink is simultaneous to all users. All signals in cell are
decoded using a PN sequence of length 2
to reduce the co-channel interference.
During this process the orthogonality between the users is preserved. The forward
channel consists of one pilot channel, one synchronisation channel, up to 7 paging
channels and up to 63 traffic channels. The pilot channel transmits higher power than
other channels and is used by mobiles to acquire timing for forward channel and to
compare signal strength of different base stations. The synchronisation channel is used
to broadcast synchronisation messages to mobile at a rate of 1200 bps. Similarly paging
channels are use to send paging messages from base station to mobiles and operates at
three different bit rates, namely. Traffic channel supports variable data rates and
operates at 9600, 4800, 2400 and 1200 bps.
Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems
On reverse channels a strict power control is applied so that the base station receives
constant power from each mobile and thus avoiding the near-far problem. Power control
is done on the downlink at the rate of 800 bps. Reverse channels operate at 4800 bps for
paging purposes by mobiles to initiate calls with base station and respond to paging
messages. For traffic channels on the reverse link same rates as for forward channels are
used and variable data rates are supported.

Pan European Global System for Mobile (GSM)

GSM communication system operates at two frequency bands, 900 and 1800 MHz.
GSM mainly refers to the primary 900 MHz band. It uses two subbands, one for uplink
and one for downlink, each with bandwidth of 25 MHz and separated from each other
by 30 MHz. The carriers are separated by a guard band of 200 kHz thus giving total of
124 frequency channels. In the secondary band, 1800 MHz, there are similarly 374
different frequency channels allocated. GSM employs both TDMA and FDMA multiple
access techniques in combination with slow frequency hopping. Transmission takes
place by allocating a specific time slot of particular duration during which burst of data
will be transmitted. Many types of channels are defined by specifying time slots in
GSM. Transmission on the uplink follows the downlink reception and similarly hopping
frequencies are also related. The hopping frequency in the uplink direction is derived by
adding 45 MHz to the one in the downlink direction. Each carrier is divided into eight
timeslots and transmitted in a frame structure. Each frame last about 4.62 ms such that
each time slots last about 576.9 microseconds. Depending on the number of carriers in a
given cell all eight timeslots could be used to carry user traffic. However there must be
at least one timeslot allocated for control channel purposes and therefore there are
maximum of seven simultaneous traffic channels.

Third-Generation Systems

The aims of the third-generation communication system is to provide seamless network
that can provide users voice, data, multimedia and video services anywhere anytime on
the network. It will support global roaming while providing high-speed data and
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
multimedia applications of up to 144 kbps for moving mobiles and up to 2 Mbps in
indoor area.

Third-generation communication systems are defined by the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU). This work was done through the IMT-2000 and the
European proposal for IMT-2000 is known as the Universal Mobile
Telecommunications Systems (UMTS). UMTS will provide significant changes for
customers and technologies. Japan already launched its UMTS network using the
wideband-CDMA (WCDMA) technique. Europe will follow shortly after Japan and
third-generation networks are expected in United States between 2003 and 2005.
Several different radio environments are utilized to provide the required layers of
coverage. These range from vary small indoor picocells with high capacity, through to
terrestrial micro- and macrocells, to satellite megacells.

Key features and objectives of IMT-2000 [21]:

- Integration of current first and second generation terrestrial and satellite-based
communications systems into a third-generation
- Ensuring a high degree of commonality of design at a global layer
- Compatibility of services with IMT-2000 and with fixed networks
- Ensuring high quality and integrity of communications, comparable to the fixed
- Accommodation of a variety of types of terminals including pocket-size
- Use of terminals worldwide
- Provision for connection of mobile users to other mobile users or fixed users
- Provision of services by more than one network in any coverage area
- Availability to mobile users of a range of voice and non-voice services
- Provision of services over a wide range of user densities and coverage areas
- Efficient use of the radio spectrum consistent with providing service at
acceptable cost
- Provision of a framework for the continuing expansion of mobile network
services and for the access to services and facilities of the fixed network
- Number portability independent of service provider
Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems
- Open architecture that accommodates advances in technology and different
- Modular structure that allows the system to grow as needed

Radio Access

IMT-2000 will provide a wide range of services in a wide variety of operating
environments. For multimedia communications high data rates are required ranging
from a few kbps for images to about 2 Mbps for video. Therefore two coverage areas
are defined for IMT-2000, full area coverage with 384 kbps and 2Mbps for local area

To provide these services two radio links will be employed, either terrestrial or satellite-
based. Due to practical difficulties of spectral and power efficiency design constraints it
would be hard to provide common radio interface for both terrestrial and satellite
components. Therefore terminals will most likely be required to operate over more than
one type of interface. Dual-mode handsets already exist to combine GSM at different

The UMTS radio interface, called UMTS terrestrial radio access (UTRA) will consist of
a number of hierarchical layers. The higher layer will use W-CDMA where each user
will be given a special CDMA code and full access to the allocated bandwidth. The
macro layer will provide basic data rates to 144 kbps. The lower layers will provide
higher data rates of 384 kbps and 2Mbps, through the use of FDD. It may also be
possible to use TDD through time division CDMA (TD-CDMA) for higher data rates by
dividing the frequency allocation into time slots the lower layers. This compromise
between the two competing standards of W-CDMA and TD-CDMA means that Europe
will have a group of standards. TD-CDMA provides greater efficiency than GSM and
offers reuse of the existing GSM network structure as well as efficient inter-working
with GSM. TD-CDMA has the same basic frame structure as GSM, each having eight
time slots per frame length, but provides higher data rates, up to 2 Mbps indoors. Figure
6.1 below shows the break up of the 3G spectrum.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 6.1 The 3G spectrum.

The combination of different access methods is intended to provide flexibility and
network efficiency, with the UMTS terminal adopting the access method that best seeks
its environment.

The work of ITU on the IMT-2000 is aimed at the establishment of advanced global
communication services within the frequency bands, 1885 to 2025 MHz and 2110 to
2200 MHz. Within these bands, 1980 to 2010 and 2170 to 2200 MHz will be used by
the satellite component. The table below summarises the expected data speeds for
various 3G radio access schemes.

Expected 3G data speeds

Peak Network
Peak Device
Average PC
Browser Speed
(loaded network)
Average Streaming
Media Speed
(loaded network)
GPRS 115 kbps 53 kbps 20-30 kbps 10-20 kbps
EDGE 470 kbps 237 kbps 80-130 kbps 20-40 kbps
WCDMA 2 mbps 2 mbps 200-300 kbps up to 384 kbps
153 kbps 153 kbps 40-60 kbps ~64 kbps
2.4 mbps 2.4 mbps 120-300 kbps 50-100 kbps

Table 6.4 Expected 3G data speeds.

Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems

Characteristics of 3G Mobile Stations

UWC-136 (TDMA)

Carrier Spacing 1.25 MHz 3.75 MHz 30 kHz 200 kHz 5 MHz
100 mW 100 mW 100 mW 100 mW 100 mW
Antenna Gain 0 dBi 0 dBi 0 dBi 0 dBi 0 dBi
Antenna Height 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m
Body Loss

0 dB 0 dB 0 dB 0 dB 0 dB
Data Rates

144 kbps 384 kbps
30 kbps & 44
384 kbps 384 kbps
Modulation Type

/4-DQPSK 8-

Emission Bandwidth
-3 dB 1.1 MHz 3.3 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.18 MHz 3 GPP
-20 dB 1.4 MHz 4.2 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.22 MHz TS25.101
-60 dB 1.5 MHz 4.5 MHz 0.04 MHz 0.24 MHz
Receiver Noise
9 dB 9 dB 9 dB 9 dB 9 dB
Receiver Thermal
Noise Level

-113 dBm

-105 dBm

-109 dBm

-100 dBm

-121 dBm
-113 dBm

-109 dBm at
384 kbps

Receiver Bandwidth
-3 dB 1.10 MHz 3.30 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.18 MHz ?
-20 dB 1.6 MHz 4.7 MHz 0.04 MHz 0.25 MHz ?
-60 dB 3.7 MHz 11 MHz 0.09 MHz 0.58 MHz ?
/N for P
= 10
6.6 dB 6.6 dB 7.8 dB 8.4 dB 3.1 dB


-107 dBm -103dBm -113 dBm -104 dBm -106 dBm

-119 dBm -115 dBm -127 dBm -119 dBm Not Needed

-104 dBm -100 dBm -111 dBm -103 dBm Not Needed

Table 6.5 Characteristics of 3G Mobile Phones.

Characteristics of 3G Base Stations

UWC-136 (TDMA)

1.25 MHz 3.75 MHz 30 kHz 200 kHz 5 MHz
10 W 10 W 10 W 10 W 10 W
Antenna Gain

17 dBi per
17 dBi per
17 dBi per 120

17 dBi per 120
17 dBi per
Antenna Height 40 m 40 m 40 m 40 m 40 m
Tilt of Antenna 2.5
down 2.5
down 2.5
down 2.5
down 2.5
Data Rates

144 kbps 384 kbps
30 kbps & 44
384 kbps 384 kbps
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Modulation Type

/4-DQPSK 8-

Emission Bandwidth
-3 dB 1.1 MHz 3.3 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.18 MHz 3 GPP
-20 dB 1.4 MHz 4.2 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.22 MHz TS25.104
-60 dB 1.5 MHz 4.5 MHz 0.04 MHz 0.24 MHz
Receiver Noise
5 dB 5 dB 5 dB 5 dB 5 dB
Receiver Thermal
Noise Level



-113 dBm

-104 dBm

-125 dBm
-117 dBm

-113 dBm at
384 kbps

Receiver Bandwidth
-3 dB 1.10 MHz 3.3 MHz 0.03 MHz 0.18 MHz ?
-20 dB 1.67 MHz 4.7 MHz 0.04 MHz 0.25 MHz ?
-60 dB 3.7 MHz 11 MHz 0.09 MHz 0.58 MHz ?
/N for P
= 10
6.6 dB 6.6 dB 7.8 dB 8.4 dB 3.4 dB


-111 dBm -107 dBm -117 dBm -108 dBm -110 dBm

-123 dBm -119 dBm -131 dBm -123 dBm Not Needed

-108 dBm -104 dBm -115 dBm -107 dBm Not Needed

a - In bandwidth equal to data rate
b - In receiver bandwidth
c - For a 10-3 raw bit error rate, theoretical Eb/No
d - Desired signal at sensitivity, I/N = -6 dB for a 10 percent loss in range
e - Desired signal 10 dB above sensitivity, S/(I+N) for a 10-3 BER
f - Assumes Eb/No for Pe = 10E-6 without diversity

Table 6.6 Characteristics of 3G Cellular Base Stations.

3G Standards

To ensure a smooth transition towards 3G, the IMT-2000 was set up by the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) to harmonise the different proposed 3G standards. To
date, the ITU has decided on a single flexible standard with a choice of multiple access
methods (CDMA, TDMA and a hybrid TDMA/CDMA). CDMA is perceived to be the
predominant air interface.

Two 3G standards - Wideband CDMA (W-CDMA, supported by current GSM-centric
countries) and cdma2000 (supported by current CDMA-centric countries) - have
emerged as the most prominent contenders. Although both technologies are CDMA-
based, major differences exist between them. W-CDMA systems work on a RF
bandwidth of 5MHz, much wider than the cdmaOne carrier size of 1.25MHz. The wider
bandwidth serves to enhance performance under multipath environments (the receiver
Chapter 6 - Mobile Communication Systems
can better separate the different incoming signals) and increase diversity. Its carriers
may be spaced 4.2 to 5.4MHz apart in 200MHz increments. The larger spacing is more
likely to be applied between operators than within one operators spectrum. This will
help to reduce inter-operator interference. W-CDMA also offers seamless inter-
frequency handover, a useful feature in high-subscriber-density areas.

A major difference between W-CDMA and cdma2000 is that cdma2000 base stations
are network synchronous. In cdma2000, base stations receive a common reference
timing to align their clocks with one another. This is usually obtained using global
positioning systems (GPS). In cdma2000, there are two main alternatives for the
downlink: multicarrier (MC) or direct sequence (DS). The MC approach involves
setting up three carrier frequencies, each with a spreading bandwidth of 1.25MHz. This
approach allows co-existence with existing IS-95B systems. In the DS option, only a
single carrier is set up, with a spreading bandwidth of 4.75MHz. The advantage of DS
over MC is better multipath mitigation.

Whichever the standard that is chosen by an operator, IMT-2000 aims to ensure that in
the evolution / migration towards 3G, operators can continue to leverage on existing

In addition, all 3G systems will support the following bit rates:

up to 144kbps in macro-cellular environments (e.g. in moving vehicle),
up to 384kbps in micro-cellular environments (e.g. walking pedestrian) and
up to 2Mbps in indoor/pico-cellular environments (e.g. in office buildings).

IMT-2000 has also been designed from the outset to link both terrestrial and satellite
components, so that subscribers roaming between terrestrial and satellite networks can
expect smooth communication.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Migration from 2G to 3G Systems

In the evolution from 2G to 3G systems, different migration paths have been identified
for GSM and CDMA systems. The objective is to enhance spectral efficiency and
network capacity. Mobile operators around the world will be migrating their networks
towards 2.5G (e.g. General Packet Radio Service) or even 3G systems in the near
future. Unlike 2G systems, 2.5G and 3G systems will feature packet-switched
technology. Packet-switching means that dedicated circuits do not need to be
established between communicating devices, and network resources are used only when
actual data is transmitted. This means "always-on" connectivity for subscribers. Billing
for 2.5G and 3G services could, in the future, be packet-based, time-based or a mixture
of the two.

GSM operators have the option to implement General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or
Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) prior to 3G rollout. GPRS provides
a relatively easy upgrade of existing 2G networks to support higher bit rates. Commonly
considered a 2.5G technology, GPRS offers a theoretical maximum 171.2kbps bit rate,
when all eight timeslots are utilised at once. However, it is more likely that subscribers
would only be allocated 2-4 time slots, significantly lowering the actual bit rate. In
addition, initial GPRS deployments would only provide point-to-point support, meaning
that subscribers can only communicate with one party at any one time. At present, some
European operators have announced commercial GPRS rollouts this year. GPRS
roaming trials have also been conducted in Asia. Mobile data services are likely to take
off with the advent of higher bit rates offered by GPRS.

Beyond GPRS, operators have the option of implementing EDGE or migrating directly
to W-CDMA. EDGE enhances GPRS and offers bit rates of up to 384kbps through the
use of a more efficient modulation technique. Another advantage of EDGE over GPRS
is support for point-to-multipoint communication. Operators without 3G licenses may
be able to offer GPRS or EDGE instead. However, some operators may prefer a direct
3G implementation over additional infrastructure costs in association with EDGE. Also,
a significant challenge facing GSM migration is handset compatibility. New handsets
will be required for every migration step, GPRS, EDGE, as well as W-CDMA.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 7

Wideband CDMA (WCDMA)

WCDMA Parameters

The main objective of this thesis is to design a conformal array for WCDMA systems
and hence it important to understand the main operational principles of this third
generation air interface. This chapter will therefore introduce the principle of the
WCDMA air interface and main system design parameters of WCDMA will be
presented in the following section.
Some of the parameters that characterise WCDMA air interface are [21]:

WCDMA is a wideband Direct-Sequence Code Division Multiple Access (DS-
CDMA) system. The user information bits are spread over a wide bandwidth by
multiplying the user data with pseudo-random bits generated from CDMA
spreading codes. In order to support high bit rates up to 2Mbps, variable
spreading factor is used.
The chip rate of 3.84 Mcps is used to obtain the wide carrier bandwidth of 5
MHz. DS-CDMA systems such as the IS-95 (Interim Standard 95) are
commonly known as narrowband CDMA systems. They have carrier bandwidth
of 1.25 MHz due to a lower chip rate of 1.288 Mcps. WCDMA supports high
user data rates due to its wide carrier bandwidth and also features increased
multipath diversity.
WCDMA supports bandwidth on demand i.e. highly variable user data rates.
Frames of 10ms are allocated to each user during which the user data rate is kept
constant. However, the data capacity among the users can change from frame to
frame. This capacity allocation is used to achieve optimum throughput for data
packet services.
WCDMA supports two basic modes of operation; Frequency Division Duplex
(FDD) and Time Division Duplex (TDD). In the FDD mode, two carrier
Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
frequencies of 5 MHz each are used, one for uplink (from the mobile to base
station) and one for downlink (from base station to the mobile).
WCDMA supports the operation of asynchronous base stations. Narrowband
DS-CDMA systems such as IS-95 require that the transmitter and receiver are
synchronised so that the signals are correctly despread at the receiver. This is
normally achieved by the use of global time reference such as a GPS. Therefore
GPS antennas are used on outdoor IS-95 base stations so that there is a direct
line of sight between the satellite and the base station. Therefore with WCDMA
deployment of indoor and micro base stations is easier because there is no need
for GPS signals to provide synchronous operation.
WCDMA employs coherent detection coherent detection on uplink and
downlink. Coherent detection is already used in IS-95 on the downlink but it is
not very common on uplink. This will provide an overall increase in coverage
and capacity on the uplink.
Multiuser detection and smart adaptive antennas can be deployed in WCDMA
networks to increase capacity and coverage. WCDMA can be integrated into
GSM systems so the handovers between GSM and WCDMA are supported.

Table 7.1 below summarises the main parameters related to the WCDMA air interface.

Multiple access method DS-CDMA
Duplexing method FDD/TDD
Base station synchronisation Asynchronous operation
Chip Rate 3.84 Mcps
Frame Length 10ms
Service Multiplexing Multiple services with different quality of service
requirements multiplexed on one connection
Multirate concept Variable spreading factor and multicode
Detection Coherent using pilot symbols
Multiuser detection, smart antennas Supported by the standard

Table 7.1 Main WCDMA Parameters [32].

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Differences between WCDMA and 2
Generation Air

Main differences between the third and second-generation air interfaces are described in
this following section. GSM and IS-95 are second-generation air interfaces discussed
here. The second-generation systems were built mainly to provide speech services.
However, new requirements of the third generation systems need to be considered first
which are listed below [21]:

Bit rates up to 2 Mbps
Variable bit rate to offer bandwidth on demand
Multiplexing of services with different quality requirements on a single
connection (eg. speech, video and packet data)
Delay requirements from delay-sensitive real-time traffic to flexible best-
effort packet data
Quality requirements from 10% frame error rate to 10
bit error rate
Co-existence of second and third generation systems and inter-system
handovers from coverage enhancements and load balancing
Support of asymmetric uplink and downlink traffic
High spectrum efficiency
Co-existence of FDD and TDD modes

Table 7.2 lists the main differences between WCDMA and GSM, and Table 7.3 lists
those between WCDMA and IS-95. In this comparison only the air interface is

Carrier Spacing 5 MHz 200 kHz
Frequency reuse factor 1 1-18
Power control frequency 1500 Hz 2 Hz or lower
Quality control Radio resource management
Network Planning (frequency
Frequency diversity 5 MHz bandwidth gives multipath
diversity with Rake receiver
Frequency hopping
Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
Packet Data Load-based packet scheduling Time slot base scheduling with
Downlink transmit diversity Supported for improving downlink
Not supported by the standard

Table 7.2 Main differences between WCDMA and GSM air interface [21].

System WCDMA IS-95
Carrier spacing 5 MHz 1.25 MHz
Chip Rate 3.84 Mcps 1.2288 Mcps
Power control frequency 1500 Hz, both uplink and
Uplink: 800 Hz, Downlink:
slow power control
Base Station Synchronisation Not needed Yes, typically obtained via GPS
Inter-frequency handovers Yes, measurements with slotted
Possible, but measurement
method not specified
Efficient radio resource
management algoriths
Yes, provide required quality of
Not needed for speech only
Packet data Load-based packet scheduling Packet data transmitted as short
circuit switched calls
Downlink transmit diversity Supported for improving
downlink capacity
Not supported by the standard

Table 7.3 Main differences between WCDMA and IS-95 air interface [21].

Logical Channels

WCDMA uses a single type of radio carrier frequency waveform to transfer data
between the base station and mobile telephone. The data on this radio channel is divided
into logical (transport) channels that perform specific functions. The transport channels
carry control and user data information. Control channels transfer broadcast, paging and
access control. Data channels transfer voice and data (e.g. fax) information. These
logical channels are assigned to physical channels.

Following logical channels are defined for WCDMA:

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Channel Name Abbreviation Function
Broadcast Channel BCH
Carries system and cell-specific information that can be
used to identify and assist mobile telephones that are
operating with their system and is always transmitted
over the entire cell with a low fixed bit rate
Paging Channel PCH
Carries messages that alert mobile telephones of an
impending event, often a call page or a short message
Forward Access Channel FACH
Carries control information on the downlink in one cell
when the system knows the location cell of the mobile. It
may carry short user packets and is transmitted over the
entire cell or over only a part of the cell using lobe-
forming antennas
Random Access Channel RACH
Uplink channel used to carry control information and
request for service from the mobile station to the base
station when they begin to setup a call. It may carry short
user packets and is always received from the entire cell
Common Packet Channel CPCH
Uplink channel used to carry small and medium-sized
packets for transmission of burst data traffic. It is
associated with a dedicated channel on the downlink,
which provides power control for the uplink CPCH
Dedicated Channel DCH
Downlink or uplink channel used to carry user or control
information between the network and the UE. It is
transmitted over the entire cell or over only a part of the
cell using lobe-forming antennas. The DCH is
characterized by the possibility of the fast rate change
(every 10ms), fast power control.

Table 7.4 Logical Channels in WCDMA [32].

Physical Channels

Physical channels consist of a three-layer structure of superframes, radio frames and
time slots. Depending on the symbol rate of the physical channel, the configuration of
radio frames or time slots varies. A superframe has a duration of 720 ms and consists of
72 radio frames. A radio frame is a processing unit that consists of 15 time slots. A time
slot is a unit that consists of the set of information symbols. The number of symbols per
Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
time slot depends on the physical channel which corresponds to a specific carrier
frequency, code and relative phase.
There are different types of physical channels used for specific purposes. They are
designed so they cycle through a prescheduled sequence of operations and different
types of information are transmitted on each time slot during this cycle. These physical
channels include shared and dedicated control channels. Some physical radio channels
are exclusively used as control channels and other data channels share control and user
information on the same physical channel. For the dedicated physical control channels,
a specific fixed spreading sequence is typically used to uniquely identify each channel.
This allows the mobile phone to more easily discover and decode the control channel.

Uplink Physical Channels

There are two dedicated channels and one common channel on the uplink. User data is
transmitted on the dedicated physical-data channel (DPDCH) and control information is
transmitted on the dedicated physical-control channel (DPCCH). In most cases, only
one DPDCH is allocated per connection and services are jointly interleaved sharing the
same DPDCH. However, multiple DPDCHs can also be allocated to avoid a too-low
spreading factor at high data rates. The dedicated physical-control channel (DPCCH) is
needed to transmit pilot symbols for coherent reception, power control signalling bits
and rate information for rate detection. Two basic solutions for multiplexing physical
control and data channels are time multiplexing and code multiplexing. Dual-channel
QPSK is used in WCDMA uplink to avoid electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
problems with DTX. EMC problems arise when DTX is used for user data. Speech is
one of a DTX services. During silent periods, no information bits are transmitted in any
case. Because the rate of transmission of pilot and power control symbols is on the
order of 1 to 2 kHz, they cause severe EMC problems to both external equipment and
terminal interiors. This EMC problem is more difficult in the uplink direction since
mobile stations can be close to other electrical equipment, like hearing aids.

The WCDMA random access scheme is based on a slotted ALOHA technique with fast
acquisition indication. The mobile station can start the transmission at a number of well
defined time-offsets, relative to the frame boundary of every second frame of the
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
received BCH of the current cell. The different time offsets are denoted access slots.
There are 15 access slots per two frames and they are spaced 5,120 chips apart.
Information on what access slots are available in the current cell is broadcast on the
BCH. Before the transmission of a random access request, the mobile terminal should
carry out the following tasks:
- Achieve chip, slot and frame synchronization to the target base station from
the SCH and obtain information about the downlink scrambling code, also
from the SCH;
- Retrieve information from BCCH about the random access codes used in the
target cell or sector;
- Estimate the downlink path loss, which is used together with a signal
strength target to calculate the required transmit power of the random access

Downlink Physical Channels

In the downlink, there are four common physical channels. The common pilot channel
(CPICH) is used for coherent detection; the primary and secondary common control
physical channels (CCPCH) are used to carry the BCH; the SCH provides timing
information and is used to handover measurements by the mobile station.

The primary CCPCH carries the BCH channel. It is of fixed rate and is mapped to the
DPDCH in the same way as dedicated traffic channels. The primary CCPCH is
allocated the same channelization code in all cells. A mobile terminal can thus always
find the BCH, once the base stations unique scrambling code has been detected during
the initial cell search.

The secondary physical channel for common control carries the PCH and FACH in time
multiplex within the super-frame structure. The rate of the secondary CCPCH may be
different for different cells and is set to provide the required capacity for PCH and
FACH in each specific environment. The channelization code of the secondary CCPCH
is transmitted on the primary CCPCH.

Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
The SCH consists of two subchannels, the primary and secondary SCHs. The SCH
applies short code masking to minimize the acquisition time of the long code. The SCH
is masked with two short codes (primary and secondary SCH). The unmodulated
primary SCH is used to acquire the timing for the secondary SCH. The modulated
secondary SCH code carries information about the long code group to which the long
code of the BS belongs.

The primary SCH consists of an unmodulated code of length 256 chips, which is
transmitted once every slots. The primary synchronization code is the same for every
base station in the system and is transmitted time aligned with the slot boundary.

The secondary SCH consists of one modulated code of length 256 chips, which is
transmitted in parallel with the primary SCH. The secondary synchronization code is
chosen from a set of 16 different codes, depending on which of the 32 different code
groups the base station downlink scrambling code belongs.

There is only one type of downlink dedicated physical channel, the downlink dedicated
physical channel (DPCH). Within one downlink DPCH, data is transmitted in time-
multiplex with control information generated at layer 1, such as known pilot bits, TPC
commands and an optional transport format combination indicator (TFCI).


The WCDMA scheme employs long spreading codes. Different spreading codes are
used for cell separation in the downlink and user separation in the uplink. In the
downlink, Gold codes of length 218 are used, but they are truncated to form a cycle of a
10-ms frame. The total number of available scrambling codes is 512, divided into 32
code groups with 16 codes in each group to facilitate a fast cell search procedure. In the
uplink, either short or long spreading (scrambling codes) is used. The short codes are
used to ease the implementation of advanced multiuser receiver techniques; otherwise
long spreading codes are used. Short codes are VL-Kasami codes of length 256 and
long codes are Gold sequences of length 241.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Base stations in WCDMA need not be synchronized and therefore no external source of
synchronisation, like global positioning system (GPS), is needed for the base stations.

Soft and Softer Handover

During softer handover, a mobile station is in the overlapping cell coverage are of two
adjacent sectors of a base station. The communications between mobile station and base
station take place concurrently via two channels, one for each sector. The two signals
are received in the mobile station by means of Rake processing. Figure 7.1 shows the
softer and soft handover scenarios.
During soft handover, a mobile station is in the overlapping cell coverage are of two
sectors belonging to different base stations. Before entering soft handover, the mobile
station measures observed timing differences on the downlink SCHs from the two base
stations. The structure of SCH was discussed earlier in the chapter. The mobile station
reports the timing differences back to the serving base station. The timing of a new
downlink soft handover connection is adjusted with a resolution of one symbol. That
enables the mobile RAKE receiver to collect the macro diversity energy from the two
base stations. Soft and softer handover can take place in combination with each other.

Figure 7.1 Softer and Soft Handovers [21].

Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
Inter-frequency Handovers

Inter-frequency handovers are needed for utilization of hierarchical cell structures;
macro, micro and indoor cells. Several carriers and inter-frequency handovers may also
be used for taking care of high capacity needs in hot spots. Inter-frequency handovers
are also needed for handover to second generation systems, like GSM and IS-95. In
order to complete inter-frequency handovers, an efficient method is needed for making
measurements on other frequencies while still having the connection running on the
current frequency. One methods considered for inter-frequency measurements in
WCDMA is dual receiver.

The dual receiver approach is considered suitable, especially if the mobile terminal
employs antenna diversity. During the inter-frequency measurements, one receiver
branch is switched to another frequency for measurements, while the other keeps
receiving from the current frequency. The loss of diversity gain during measurements
must be compensated for with higher downlink transmission power. The advantage of
the dual receiver approach is that there is no break in the current frequency connection.
Fast closed loop power control is running all the time.

Interoperability Between GSM and WCDMA

When WCDMA was standardized a key aspect was to ensure that existing investments
could be reused as much as possible. One example is handover between the new
WCDMA network and the existing (GSM) network, which can be initiated by coverage,
capacity or service requirements.

Handover from WCDMA to GSM, for coverage reasons, is initially expected to be
important since operators are expected to deploy WCDMA gradually within their
existing GSM networks. When a subscriber moves out of the WCDMA coverage area, a
handover to GSM has to be conducted in order to keep the connection. Handover
between GSM and WCDMA can also have positive effect on capacity through the
possibility of load sharing. If for example the numbers of subscribers in the GSM
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
network is close to capacity limit one area, handover of some subscribers to the
WCDMA network can be performed. When performing handover to GSM,
measurements have to be made in order to identify the GSM cell to which the handover
will be made. Measurement for the handset are created using the compress mode in
which all the information is send during the first half of the frame and the second half is
used for measurements on the other systems.

The GSM compatible multiframe structure, with superframe being a multiple of 120 ms,
allows similar timing for intersystem measurements as in the GSM system itself.
Apparently, the needed measurement interval does not need to be as frequent as for
GSM terminal operating in a GSM system, as intersystem handover is less critical from
an intra-system interference point of view. This way, the relative timing between GSM
and WCDMA carriers is maintained similar to the timing between two asynchronous
GSM carriers. GSM traffic channel and WCDMA channels use similar 120ms
multiframe structure. The GSM frequency correction channel (FCCH) and GSM SCH
use one slot out of the eight GSM slots in the frames, with the FCCH frame with one
time slot for FCCH always preceding the SCH frame with one time slot for SCH.

A WCDMA terminal can do the measurements either by requesting the measurement
intervals in a form of a slotted mode, where there are breaks in the downlink
transmission, or then it can perform the measurements independently with a suitable
measurement pattern. With independent measurements, the dual receiver approach is
used instead of the slotted mode, since then the GSM receiver branch can operate
independently of the WCDMA receiver branch.

For smooth interoperation between the systems, information needs to be exchanged
between the systems to allow the WCDMA base station to notify the terminal of the
existing GSM frequencies in the area. In addition, more integrated operation is needed
for the actual handover where the current service is maintained, taking naturally into
account the lower data rate capabilities in GSM, when compared to maximum UMTS
data rates of 2 Mbps.

The GSM is likewise expected to also indicate the WCDMA spreading codes in the area
to make the cell identification simpler. After that, the existing measurement practices in
Chapter 7 - Wideband CDMA
GSM can be used for measuring the WCDMA when operating in GSM mode. WCDMA
does not rely on any superframe structure as with GSM to find out synchronisation, so
the terminal operating in GSM can obtain the WCDMA frame synchronization once the
WCDMA base station scrambling code timing is acquired. The base station scrambling
code has a 10 ms period and its frame timing is synchronized to WCDMA common

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 8

Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays

Microstrip Patch Antennas

Microstrip patch antennas were first introduced in 1970s and since then it has become
the main field of antenna research and development. Several well-known advantages of
microstrip antennas over other conventional antenna structures include their low profile
and hence conformal nature, low weight and cost of production, compatibility with
microwave monolithic integrated circuits (MMICs) and optoelectronic integrated
circuits (OEICs) technologies. Due to these advantages microstrip antennas have found
many applications including mobile communication base stations, satellite
communication systems and even mobile cellular phones.
However there are some disadvantages of microstrip antennas that need to be
mentioned. They have small bandwidth and relatively low radiation efficiency due to
surface wave excitation and conductor and dielectric losses. Vast efforts of many
universities and research institutions have been done to address and solve these issues.
Still the area of microstrip patch antennas is a thriving technology and it continues to be
so in following years to come.

General Characteristics

A microstrip patch antenna is usually etched on a grounded dielectric laminates of some
common shape; rectangular, square, circular, elliptical, triangular etc. Properties of the
substrate such as its height and its dielectric constant play an important role in the
performance of the printed microstrip antenna. Depending on its application it is
essential that the right substrate type is selected for microstrip patch antenna design.
Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
Figures below show some very important performance trends of a single-layer
rectangular microstrip patch antenna, with a simple excitation method as a function of
the substrate thickness.

Figure 8.1a shows the bandwidth for various dielectric constant values as a function of
substrate thickness. The thicker the material is, the greater the bandwidth. Also to note
is that the lower the dielectric constant the greater the bandwidth that can be achieved.

Figure 8.1b shows the directivity of the patch antenna. Greater directivity is obtained for
antennas mounted on lower dielectric constant since they appear physically larger and
hence have larger collecting area then the patch antennas mounted on higher dielectric
constant. As the thickness of the substrate increases so does the directivity due to the
increasing volume of the antenna.

Figure 8.1c shows the surface wave efficiency of a microstrip patch antenna. It can be
observed that the higher the dielectric constant the more power is lost to the surface
wave and therefore the antenna is less efficient.


Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations



Figure 8.1 Performance trends of single-layered microstrip patch antenna: (a) impedance
bandwidth; (b) directivity; (c) surface wave efficiency [15].

Feeding Techniques

There are four fundamental techniques to feed a microstrip patch antenna; edge fed,
probe fed, aperture coupled and proximity coupled. Some properties of each feeding
method are described below.

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
Edge-Fed Patches

Edge feeding or microstrip-line feeding technique is one of the original methods for
exciting the microstrip patch antenna. In this method a microstrip feed line of width W

is in direct contact with a rectangular patch of length L and width W.

They have some advantages over other feeding techniques. They are easier to fabricate
because the feed line and the patch can be etched on the same board. Input impedance
can be easily controlled by adjusting the point at which the feed line comes into contact
with the patch. Low impedance down to few ohms is obtained if the contact point is
near the centre of the patch. This feeding technique is also easier to model if thin
material is used. Simple transmission line models can be used. This form of feeding
suffers from high spurious feed radiation because the feed network is not separated from
the antenna and thus the feed network radiates too when the patch radiates.

Probe-Fed Patches

This method is another method that was originally proposed in 1970s when microstrip
patch antennas were introduced. In this method a coaxial probe of radius r extends
through the ground plane and is connected to the patch conductor. The method is also
referred to as coaxial feed since the inner conductor of the coaxial cable is used as a
feeding pin. The probe fed patch has several key advantages. The feed network,
including phase shifters and filters, is isolated from the radiating elements via the
ground plane. Due to this feature the spurious radiation is minimized and its most
efficient feed method because the probe is in direct contact with the element. However,
as with edge-fed patches, probe-fed patches have small bandwidth and are somewhat
difficult to analyse. If electrically thick substrates are used the probe can generate high
cross-polarized fields.

Aperture-Coupled Patches

The aperture coupling method is the first non-contact feed mechanism that was
introduced to try to improve on shortcomings of direct feed techniques, namely the
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
small bandwidth and the effects of surface waves. Separate substrates are used for feed
network and patch antennas. The coupling between the feed and the patch antenna is
achieved using a small slot in the ground plane which separates the substrates. This
configuration has some advantages over the direct contact techniques. Unlike the probe-
fed configuration, no vertical feeds are required, simplifying the fabrication and
allowing independent optimisation of the feed and antenna substrates. Due to its
multiplayer configuration the alignment issues arise as well as the multilevel fabrication
problems. The performance of the antenna depends on the small gaps between the
layers of dielectric as well as the bonding material. The efficiency of the antenna is
reduces if the bonding material is lossy and located near the slot. Aperture-coupled
patches can be easily and accurately modelled using full-wave analysis. They are the
most utilized microstrip patch antennas in todays global market.

Proximity-Coupled Patches

Proximity-coupled patches are the second form of non-contact fed patches that were
created to overcome the shortcoming of the direct contact fed patches. The microstrip
feed line is located on the grounded substrate and the microstrip patch is etched on top
of second substrate that is located above. Because the two substrates are separated
certain distance the power from the feed line is electromagnetically coupled to the
patch. This coupling mechanism is capacitive in nature as opposed to inductive coupling
for direct contact techniques. Therefore the bandwidth of proximity-coupled patches is
usually greater. These antennas have high spurious feed radiation because the feed and
antenna layers are not fully independent. As with aperture-coupled patches, small gaps
between the two substrates can affect the coupling efficiency to the patch and so must
be taken into consideration during fabrication.

Enhancing Bandwidth

The simple microstrip patch cannot satisfy the bandwidth requirements for most
wireless communication systems. Over the years a lot of research was undertaken in
order to investigate bandwidth enhancement techniques. Generally to improve the
Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
bandwidth one or more resonant antennas are added to the patch configuration. Some
more recognized methods for enhancing the bandwidth are discussed below.

Parasitically Coupled (or Gap-Coupled) Patches

This technique was proposed in 1980s and consists of two parasitic patches positioned
on either side of the excited patch. If the resonant frequency of the coupled elements is
slightly different to that of the driven patch, then the bandwidth of the entire antenna
may be increased. The critical parameters in this configuration are the lengths and
widths of each patch for control of resonant frequency and bandwidth as well as the
element spacing. The element spacing controls the coupling between the elements and
therefore the tightness of the resonant loops in the impedance locus of the antenna. This
bandwidth enhancement technique has been used to achieve bandwidths on the order of
20% (bandwidth of approx. 5% for single layer microstrip patches). However to achieve
such wide bandwidths, wide parasitic elements are required which make the overall size
of the antenna electrically large and therefore introducing grating lobe problems.

Stacked Microstrip Patches

Stacked microstrip patch is the most common procedure used to enhance the bandwidth
of a microstrip antenna. Direct contact edge-fed stacked patches or aperture-coupled
stacked patches can used in this method. Bandwidths of almost 30% have been achieved
using these techniques. Advantages of edge-fed stacked patches over aperture-coupled
stacked patches include ease of fabrication and a minimal backward-directed radiation.
The stack patch geometry has several advantages over other bandwidth enhancement
techniques. They are relatively easy to design and can be easily accommodated into an
array environment.

Large Slot Aperture-Coupled Patches

Increasing the size of the slot of an aperture-coupled patch is a simple way of enhancing
the bandwidth. This will ensure that the power is coupled to the patch that is located on
a thick dielectric layer of substrate. Bandwidths of 40% have been achieved using this
technique, however there are two problems with using a large slot aperture-coupled
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
patch. Firstly the front to back ratio tends to be poor. This leads to increased level of
interference in sectored wireless communication systems and mobile communication
systems. Base stations utilizing three 120 deg sectors need to have antennas with
minimum back radiation levels. Ways of minimizing back radiation include the addition
of reflector elements or use of cavity-backed configurations. Secondly the large slot can
cause deformation of the radiation pattern. One way of avoiding this problem is to
ensure that the ground plane extends a relatively large distance with respect to the
centre of the patch and the slot. Despite these problems large slot aperture-coupled
patches are currently utilized as the antenna for several mobile communication base
stations throughout the world.

Aperture-Stacked Patches

This printed antenna, referred to as an aperture-stacked patch (ASP) consists of a large
slot and two directive patches. Impedance bandwidths in excess of an octave have been
achieved using this printed antenna configuration. The front to back ratio is not as poor
as for that of a large slot aperture-coupled patch because of the additional directive
patch. Currently ASPs are the ultimate wideband printed antennas based on microstrip
patch technology. They are very suitable for wideband operation because they have
suitable characteristics; good impedance and gain bandwidth, good polarization control,
compactness and relatively simple development. Despite its electrical thickness, it does
not suffer from surface wave problems because the surface wave power is coupled to
the adjoining patches and radiated into space.

Other types of printed antenna can provide very wide bandwidths as well and they
include: printed spirals, tapered slots, printed bow-tie antennas, L-shaped excited
stacked patch antennas and printed quasi yagi antennas.

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
Conformal Arrays

The essential part of a conformal array is its curvature. Many applications exist where
the conformal array occupies only a small part of a curved body and where the
conformal effects are mainly on patterns and excitation rather than on impedance. For
these applications the array can be designed as a planar array but with proper conformal
phasing. Flush-mounted antennas for aircraft and missiles are some common examples.
The conformality may be required for aerodynamic reasons or to reduce the antennas
radar cross section. Sometimes arrays are conformal to a stationary shaped surface in
order to increase the angular sector served by a single array. Arrays required to provide
180 or 360 deg azimuth coverage may be conformal to a cylinder, depending on the
elevation coverage required while a spherical surface may be required to provide full
hemispherical coverage.

Arrays on curved surfaces may be divided into two categories as shown in Figure 8.2. If
the array dimensions are small compared to the radius of the curvature then the array is
treated as locally planar. Such nearly planar arrays also have coverage limited by the
field of view of the planar array. Arrays that are large with respect to the radius of
curvature conform to the surface and may be used to scan over a far larger sector if the
illuminations are somehow commuted around the surface. This commutation is
accomplished by several means which are discussed briefly in this section.

Figure 8.2 Conformal arrays: (a) aperture dimensions much less than local radius of
curvature (b) aperture dimensions comparable with local radius of curvature

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
For conformal arrays, the analysis and synthesis is significantly more complex than for
a nearly planar or conventional planar array. They differ from planar arrays in several
aspects. Pattern synthesis is complicated because the element positions are in one plane
and the element spacings are not always equal. For these arrays, the array factor and
element patterns are not separable and the array factor is not always a polynomial. To
produce a low-sidelobe pattern with an array that is large with respect to the radius of
curvature, one must commutate the illumination around the radiating surface in order to
utilize the elements that radiate efficiently in the direction of desired radiation. A third
aspect is that the polarization radiated by elements on surfaces that are not parallel to
one another will not generally be aligned and therefore may cause high cross

Patterns of Circular and Cylindrical Arrays

Circular and cylindrical arrays possesses the advantage of symmetry in azimuth, which
makes them ideally suited for full 360 deg coverage. This advantage has been exploited
for the development of broadcast antennas and direction-finding antennas. Conformal
Array Antenna Design Handbook edited by R.C. Hansen, presents an extensive
literature search and practical pattern results for both circular and cylindrical arrays.

Figure 8.3 shows a group of elements in a circular or ring array. The array pattern for
the ring array of radius a with N elements at locations = n is given by the usual
array expression with

= R
a sin cos( - n)

The resulting pattern is
F , ( = )

) cos( sin
) , (
n jka
n n
e f I

Because of the symmetry, the element patterns are dependent on the element location
and have the form:

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
( ) , = f ) , ( n

and generally include mutual coupling and effects of ground plane curvature. The ring
array is of particular importance because it is also the basic element of cylindrical

Figure 8.3 Circular array geometry [19].

The axial distance of the cylindrical array allows elevation pattern control and higher
directivity. Elements are more direct due to the metallic cylinder on which elements are
placed. The influence of the curved surface on the radiation pattern is examined next.
The cylindrical array can be considered to consist of a stack of identical ring arrays. The
coordinate system is shown in Figure 8.4. For simplicity the complex excitation of the
elements in the q
ring can be denoted by I
= I(
), where
is the angular
location of the p
and z
is the z-axis location of the q

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 8.4 Cylindrical coordinate system [18].

All elements are assumed identical, symmetrical, equally spaced, and pointed along the
radius. Thus, the azimuth element pattern can be expressed as a function of | |. The
azimuth pattern depends on the elevation angle . Assuming that the phase centre is at
the element,

( ) | |. cos cos exp ) , ( ) , ( = jkp G G

The far field is

( ) ( ) ), exp( , , jqu G I E
p q

where u = kd sin and d = spacing between elements in the axial direction. A beam can
be formed in the direction by exciting all elements to add in
phase in that direction (beam co-phase excitation). The azimuth distribution depends on
the beam-pointing angle in both azimuth and elevation. Analysis can be simplified by
considering the cylindrical array pattern to be the product of a ring array pattern and a
linear array pattern. The patterns do not include the effects of mutual coupling.
0 = = and

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
Grating Lobes

A cylinder can be covered with a regular lattice but the projection in any direction
produces unequal spacing in azimuth. The element spacings in elevation direction are
uniform and so conventional grating lobe theory can be used. Azimuth spacing does not
produce high-amplitude grating lobes but the sidelobes may increase if the element
spacing is too large. Element spacing and the cylinder radius are the two factors needed
to calculate grating lobes. Amplitude tapering is typically used to produce moderately
low sidelobes. For proper pattern calculation element spacing, cylinder radius, element
pattern and amplitude taper must be included. Cylindrical arrays that are phased to
produce narrow beams tend to be more susceptible to grating lobe problems than do
comparable planar arrays. This is due to two factors: (i) the element patterns on the
sides of the active part of the array do not point in the direction of the main beam; and
(ii) it is necessary to have a large inter-element phase shift into the excitation to
compensate for curvature of the cylinder. Hence inter-element spacing must be kept
relatively small to prevent the formation of grating lobes. The book Phased Array
Antennas by R.C. Hansen presents mathematical analysis of grating lobes. The grating
lobe of the cylindrical staggered array is equal to the grating lobe of the linear array,
with spacing d, times the grating lobe of a ring array with spacing 2s (s = elevation
spacing). Figure 8.5 below shows the grating lobe height as a function of scan angle for
regular and staggered configuration and the position in elevation and azimuth of the
staggered array lobe.

Figure 8.5 Grating lobe position and height vs. scan angle [18].
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

The figures below show the pattern for various . The effect of staggering is easily
seen. If the rings are spaced at d = 0.72, a beam at = 30 deg gives a grating lobe at
about 60 deg. A regular array gives the grating lobe height at 11dB, which is the
difference between beams at = 30 deg and = 60 deg. For a staggered array, the
grating lobe height is the difference between the beam at = 30 deg and the grating
lobe at = 60 deg (about 28dB).

(a) 30 dB Chebyshev patterns for = 0 (b) 30 dB Chebyshev patterns for = 30

0 0

(c) 30 dB Chebyshev patterns for = 60
Figure 8.6 30 dB patterns for (a) = 0, (b) = 30 and (c) = 60 degrees [18].
0 0 0

Figure 8.7 below present the patterns for regular and staggered arrays at various . The
same single ring parameters are assumed as for previous Figure 8.6 in addition, 32 rings
spaced at 0.72 are used with a 30dB Chebyshev distribution.

The grating lobe can be reduced and elevation scan extended by reducing the azimuth or
elevation spacing of the staggered array. For example, reducing the azimuth spacing
Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays
from 0.65 to 0.5 (with d = 0.72) increases the scan angle limit from 30 deg to about
40 deg to maintain a grating lobe of 30 dB and further reduction to 0.4 allows scanning
to above 75 deg with the grating love below 40 dB. Reduction of elevation spacing
(with s = 0.65) from 0.72 to 0.6 allows scanning to above 50 deg for a grating lobe
below 40 dB.

Figure 8.7 30 dB Chebyshev patterns [18].

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Scan Element Pattern

Scan element patterns of elements disposed around a cylinder can be obtained by
solving an equation for each azimuthal mode separately. Figure 8.8 shows scan element
pattern for circumferential dipoles around a cylinder of diameter (120/), with axial
dipole spacing of 0.72, and circumferential spacings of 0.5, 0.6 and 0.72. As expected
from the analogous H-plane planar array shows scan element pattern, the wider spacing
show oscillations at broadside, leading to a drop at a grating lobe angle. The drops occur
at angles smaller than those for the planar case, but are less steep.

Figure 8.8 Scan element patterns for several spacings [18].

Figure 8.9 shows scan element pattern for an array of rectangular waveguide radiators
around a cylinder of diameter (185/), with axial spacing of 0.8 and circumferential
spacing of 0.6. E-field was circumferential, with guide dimensions of 0.32 by 0.75.
This larger cylinder shows a steeper drop, more like the planar array results.

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays

Figure 8.9 Scan element pattern [18].

Sector Arrays On Cylinders

Patterns and Directivity

In many applications such as missiles and aircraft, full azimuth scanning is not needed.
Sector arrays, where the elements occupy a sector of some angle are appropriate. When
sector angle is small the array can be designed as a planar array with minor adjustments.
However, large sectors require the examinations of all curvature effects. Figure 8.10
shows relative directivity versus sector included angle for several element pattern
variations. The directivity is the projected area times the element directivity.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 8.10 Arc array directivity relative to flat array across diameter [19].

An example of an array with 0.65 spacing on a 27.4 diameter cylinder, for sector
angles of 60, 90 and 120 deg is shown in Figure 8.11. Larger projected element
spacings at large angles allow the grating lobe to increase with larger sector angle. This
lobe could be suppressed with closer element spacing of course. However the directivity
penalty cannot. From a 60 deg sector to one of 120 deg, the projected area has doubled
but directivity has increased only 1.0 dB.

Figure 8.11 Scan element patterns of arc arrays [18].

Chapter 8 - Conformal Microstrip Antenna Arrays

Comparison of Planar and Sector Arrays

The question often arises whether the cylindrical array makes efficient use of aperture
and hardware, in particular when compared with standard planar array approach. For
360 deg azimuth coverage, four planar arrays each scanning 90 deg, are generally used,
so the cylinder is compared with the four-sided planar configuration (assuming identical
elements). For elevation scanning and elevation pattern, the two configurations give
nearly identical results. The planar array elevation pattern is the array factor multiplied
by the elevation element pattern, while the cylindrical array elevation pattern is the
array factor multiplied by the ring array elevation pattern. The advantage of the
cylinder is that the ring array elevation pattern tend to suppress sidelobes more than
does the element pattern alone. For smaller arcs that are excited in the ring the main
beam and first few sidelobes are almost identical to the linear array results because for
small angles the curvature has a negligible effect on the phased distribution from each
element. Also, effects of element spacing become apparent only at larger angles.
Chebyshev distribution method could be used to form the desired beamwidth and
constrain the inner sidelobes of an arc array. If grating lobes are controlled, all sidelobes
will be below the inner sidelobe.

It has been calculated [R.C. Hansen] that about 92% to 100% of the elements required
for a four-sided linear array are required to obtain the equivalent ring array. There are
some disadvantages of the planar array which the cylindrical array avoids. The ring
array beam is identical for all beam positions, while the planar array beam is broader in
scanning off broadside. As the ring array is scanned by commutating the distribution, it
is always formed by a distribution which is symmetrical in phase and amplitude. This
results in superior beam pointing accuracy independent of frequency change.
Cylindrical array gives 360 deg coverage in azimuth with none of the handover
problems associated with the use of several planar arrays. In some applications these
advantages can be very important.

The cylindrical array however has some disadvantages. For scanning, the amplitude as
well as the phase must be switched in azimuth and the feeding system that results will
be more complex than that of a planar array system. The greatest disadvantage would be
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
that the cylindrical array cannot be physically separated as can the four planar array.
This means that the cylinder must be in position to look 360 deg, while each planar
array needs to see only 90 deg sector. More important, it means that the cylinder cannot
be tilted back to increase elevation coverage, as is common practice with the planar

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 9

Single Element Design

The design of a single layer element involves selecting the material to be used, i.e. the
substrate and conductor, calculating the approximate patch size and the width of the
feedline (dependent on desired input impedance) and simulating and optimising the
design using the Ensemble microstrip and HFSS computer-aided drawing (CAD)

Overview of Ensemble CAD Software

Ensemble is a CAD package for microstrip antenna design using the full-wave moment
method technique, designed for the Windows operating systems and is produced by
Boulder Microwave Technologies. It is used to model elements and small arrays with a
high degree of accuracy and has the ability to determine all the relevant electrical
parameters for various antenna shapes, layers and array feed networks.

The graphical user interface allows an easy on-screen antenna design according to the
number of layers and material parameters specified. It is able to estimate transmission
line, quarter wave transformer and patch dimensions by specifying the resonant
frequency or impedance required.

The design can then be simulated with various simulation options provided such as s-
parameters, 2D and 3D far fields, as well as the frequency range of interest. Results are
then available in different graphical forms. The design can then be adjusted and
optimised to provide desired results and characteristics.

Chapter 9 - Single Element Design

Overview of High Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS) Software

HFSS is a 3D EM simulation software for RF & wireless design which is produced by
Agilent Technologies. It was first introduced in 1990 as the first commercial software
tool to simulate complex 3D geometries. The software gained instant popularity because
it brought the power of finite element method FEM to design engineers. Since 1990,
numerous improvements have allowed open regions for antenna design, fast frequency
sweeps for wideband simulation, ferrite materials for nonreciprocal devices, and new
features for antenna design.

HFSS is an interactive software package that computes s-parameters and full-wave
fields for arbitrarily-shaped 3D passive structures. Structures are simulated in HFSS
using the finite element method (FEM) together with advanced techniques such as
automatic adaptive mesh generation and refinement, tangential vector finite elements,
and Adaptive Lanczos Pade Sweep (ALPS). An initial mesh - or subdivision of the
geometry into tetrahedral elements - is created based on the structure drawn in the CAD
package. This initial mesh is solved quickly to provide field solution information
identifying regions of high field intensity or rapid field gradients. The mesh is then
refined only where needed, saving computational resources while maximizing accuracy.

HFSS automatically computes multiple adaptive solutions until a user-defined
convergence criterion is met. Field solutions calculated from first principles accurately
predict all high-frequency behavior such as dispersion, mode conversion, and losses due
to materials and radiation. Analyzing antennas, waveguide components, RF filters and
many other structures is as simple as drawing the structure, specifying material
characteristics, and identifying ports and special surface characteristics. HFSS
automatically generates field solutions, port characteristics, and s-parameters. It is
quickly able to calculate antenna metrics such as gain, directivity, far-field pattern cuts,
far-field 3D plots, and 3dB beamwidth.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

The most sensitive parameter in the estimation of antenna performance is the dielectric
constant of the substrate material. Propagation constant of an electromagnetic wave
travelling in the microstrip substrate must be accurately known as well.

Small variations in the substrate dielectric constant or dimensional changes due to
temperature fluctuations can result in frequency shift. Therefore substrates used in the
design of microstrip antennas need to be of a high quality in terms of stability in their
mechanical and electrical properties. From chapter 8 we have seen that materials with
lower dielectric constant will provide greater bandwidth, more directive and more
efficient antennas however with thinner substrates, as is the case in this design, the
bandwidth will be small.

This design will use substrate parameters from a very common substrate known as RT
Duroid 5880. Antennas for WCDMA applications will need to have substantially large
bandwidth. From Pozar [16], the requirements to increase the impedance bandwidth are
thick and low permittivity substrates. This also has the desirable qualities of high
radiation efficiency and low surface radiation. However this design will only concern
single layer microstrip design as the focus of the thesis primarily lies in effects of
curvature on conformal antenna arrays.

Hence material chosen are:

Microstrip Substrate: 62 mils RT Duroid 5880, permittivity
= 2.22, and
thickness h = 1.5875 mm, ounce copper cladding.
Patch Substrate: Metal ounce copper cladding, thickness = 0.017 mm and
conductivity 5.800 x 10

Chapter 9 - Single Element Design
Patch Size Calculation

This process provides a reasonably accurate starting point although it does not provide
the final patch dimensions. The equations have been obtained from Balanis [17] and the
values calculated refer to the dimensions illustrated in Figure 9.1.

Figure 9.1 Dimensions of a single layer element [17].

Specified parameters:

Resonant Frequency: f
= 2.15 GHz
Substrate Permittivity:
= 2.22
Substrate Thickness: h = 1.5875 mm

Calculate width of patch:

2 1
0 0
r r r r

where W is the width in metres and c is the free space velocity of light.

The calculated width is:
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

1 2 . 2
) 15 . 2 ( 2
3 . 0
0 0
r r

= 55.16 mm.

Calculate effective dielectric constant:

2 / 1
12 1

r rr

Thus = 2.0742

Calculate element extension length due to fringing effects:

( )
( )


+ +
8 . 0 258 . 0
264 . 0 3 . 0
) 412 . 0 (
h L

Thus = 0.8421 mm L

So finally the actual length of patch:

r r
= 2
0 0

therefore the length of the patch is = 46.758 mm. L

Ensemble Simulation and Optimisation

The single element design was put into Ensemble with the previous calculated
dimensions and the following initial dimensions:
Chapter 9 - Single Element Design

Width of 50 Ohm input transmission line: w = 4.92 mm

Length of 50 Ohm input transmission live: l = 26.9 mm

The transmission line was located at the edge of the patch in the centre of the width

The design was then simulated for range of frequencies (typically 2.0 to 2.3 GHz) and
s-parameters were inspected. This scattering parameter is also known as return loss and
it specifies the ratio of the reflected signal to the input signal. It is usually used to
determine how well the feedline is matched relative to the antenna patch (in terms of
impedances). From this graph the impedance bandwidth can also be measured. It is
defined as being the range of frequencies for which the return loss response is below
Figure 9.2 shows the return loss that was obtained:

Figure 9.2 Return loss for a single element.

The low return loss is due to mismatching of the feedline and the microstrip patch. A
quarter wave transformer was then used to match the feedline to the patch. This was
estimated using Ensemble. Again the estimate was not completely perfect but it gave a
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
good starting point for further trial and error simulations. Through trial and error
process it was clear which parameters affect the antenna characteristics. The length L of
the patch determines the resonant frequency where as the patch width W and
transmission line length determine the coupling between the transmission line and the
patch element and therefore the return loss and bandwidth.

Eventually the best return loss obtained (-44 dB) is shown in Figure 9.3 and dimensions
for this antenna element are shown in Figure 9.4.

Figure 9.3 Return loss for a single element.

Figure 9.4 Single patch dimensions for the return loss of -44 dB.
Chapter 9 - Single Element Design

Now that the desirable return loss was obtained using the Ensemble software the next
step was to simulate the single element using HFSS, using same patch dimensions and
parameters. When the exact same patch was simulated using HFSS the following return
loss was obtained:

Figure 9.5 Return loss obtained for the same patch using HFSS.

One logical answer as to why such a low return loss was obtained using HFSS is that
this software takes into consideration the substrate and ground plane area that need to be
specified before hand. On the other hand the Ensemble software assumes infinite
ground plane and therefore the effects of surface waves are not taken into considerations
when performing simulation calculations.

After a lengthy trial and error simulation period an acceptable return loss was obtained.
The width of the quarter wave transformer and the width of the patch were increased.
The right resonance frequency was obtained by varying the length of the patch. The size
of the substrate affected the return loss as well and it too was varied until reasonable
results were obtained.

Return loss of 23 dB was obtained at exactly 2.15 GHZ as shown in Figure 9.6.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Figure 9.6 Return loss for the optimised element in HFSS.

Using HFSS, the following dimensions gave the best return loss (-23 dB):

Microstrip Patch Length: L = 42.41 mm

Microstrip Patch Width: W = 56.7 mm

Quarter wave transformer: width = 3.142 mm,
length = 26.96 mm

Feedline: width = 4.9 mm,
length = 26 mm

The next chapter will focus on the design of a conformal array using microstrip antenna
elements with dimensions obtained in this chapter.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 10

Conformal Array Design and Simulation

The three-element conformal array was designed and simulated using the High
Frequency Structure Simulator (HFSS). Once the desired results were obtained for a
single element, each element in the array was then designed using the same dimensions
and parameters previously obtained in Chapter 9.

Due to the nature of the HFSS software, the full conformability of the array could not be
designed. Instead, in order to approximate the curvature on which elements would be
situated, elements were tilted by number of degrees from each other. Each element is
flat on its own, however once each element was tilted away from the other, the array
would form a structure that resembles a conformal array.

PC Hardware Requirements for HFSS Simulations

Due to the very complex nature in which HFSS performs its simulations and
calculations the software requires following hardware requirements:

At least 2GB of RAM
8 hours for each simulation on a computer using Pentium III 500 MHz or faster

Due to these hardware requirement the final design could only be limited to a single
three-element array instead of the fully cylindrical array with rows and columns of
antenna elements.

Design and Simulation Results

The conformal array was approximated in the following matter as shown in figure 10.1.
The middle patch of the three-element array was left horizontal while the adjacent two
Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
elements were tilted away from the centre patch. To approximate different curvature
radii the adjacent elements were tilted by 5, 15, 25 and 35 degrees away from the centre
patch. Also to simulate the effects of element spacing on the array performance
following element spacing were used in conjunction with the patch tilting; 0.52, 0.62,
0.72, 0.82 and 0.92. This design process is illustrated in Figure 10.1. Table 10.1 to
10.5 indicate conformal array parameters such as radius and number of elements that
would be required to cover full cylinder along the circumference for 0.52, 0.62,
0.72, 0.82 and 0.92 element spacing respectively.

Figure 10.1 3-Element conformal array geometry.

Angle Number of Elements
covering full cylinder
Circumference Radius Radius in
wavelengths ()
53 3710 mm 590 mm 4.23
18 1260 mm 200 mm 1.43
11 770 mm 122 mm 0.87
8 560 mm 89 mm 0.64

Table 10.1 Conformal array parameters for 0.52 element spacing.

Angle Number of Elements
covering full cylinder
Circumference Radius Radius in
wavelengths ()
53 4346 mm 692 mm 4.96
18 1476 mm 235 mm 1.68
11 902 mm 144 mm 1.03
8 656 mm 105 mm 0.75

Table 10.2 Conformal array parameters for 0.62 element spacing.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Angle Number of Elements
covering full cylinder
Circumference Radius Radius in
wavelengths ()
53 4982 mm 793 mm 5.68
18 1692 mm 269 mm 1.93
11 1034 mm 165 mm 1.18
8 752 mm 120 mm 0.86

Table 10.3 Conformal array parameters for 0.72 element spacing.

Angle Number of Elements
covering full cylinder
Circumference Radius Radius in
wavelengths ()
53 5830 mm 928 mm 6.65
18 1980 mm 315 mm 2.26
11 1210 mm 193 mm 1.38
8 880 mm 140 mm 1.00

Table 10.4 Conformal array parameters for 0.82 element spacing.

Angle Number of Elements
covering full cylinder
Circumference Radius Radius in
wavelengths ()
53 6890 mm 1097 mm 7.86
18 2340 mm 372 mm 2.67
11 1430 mm 228 mm
8 1040 mm 166 mm 1.19

Table 10.5 Conformal array parameters for 0.92 element spacing.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
Conformal Array with 0.52 Element Spacing

Planar Array:

Figure 10.2 Planar array 0.52 element spacing.

Figure 10.3 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.4 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.5 Return Loss. Figure 10.6 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
5 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.7 Conformal array (Radius 4.23 and 0.52 element spacing).

Figure 10.8 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.9 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.10 Return Loss. Figure 10.11 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
15 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.12 Conformal array (Radius 1.43 and 0.52 element spacing).

Figure 10.13 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.14 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.15 Return Loss. Figure 10.16 Insertion Loss.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
25 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.17 Conformal array (Radius 0.87 and 0.52 element spacing).

Figure 10.18 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.19 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.20 Return Loss. Figure 10.21 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
35 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.22 Conformal array (Radius 0.64 and 0.52 element spacing).

Figure 10.23 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.24 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.25 Return Loss. Figure 10.26 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Conformal Array with 0.62 Element Spacing

Planar Array:

Figure 10.27 Planar array 0.62 element spacing.

Figure 10.28 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.29 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.30 Return Loss. Figure 10.31 Insertion Loss.
Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
5 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.32 Conformal array (Radius 4.96 and 0.62 element spacing).

Figure 10.33 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.34 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.35 Return Loss. Figure 10.36 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
15 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.37 Conformal array (Radius 1.68 and 0.62 element spacing).

Figure 10.38 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.39 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.40 Return Loss. Figure 10.41 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
25 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.42 Conformal array (Radius 1.03 and 0.62 element spacing).

Figure 10.43 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.44 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.45 Return Loss Figure 10.46 Insertion Loss
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
35 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.47 Conformal array (Radius 0.75 and 0.62 element spacing).

Figure 10.48 Horizontal radiation pattern Figure 10.49 Vertical radiation pattern

Figure 10.50 Return Loss. Figure 10.51 Insertion Loss.
Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
Conformal Array with 0.72 Element Spacing

Planar Array:

Figure 10.52 Planar array 0.72 element spacing.

Figure 10.53 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.54 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.55 Return Loss. Figure 10.56 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
5 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.57 Conformal array (Radius 5.68 and 0.72 element spacing).

Figure 10.58 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.59 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.60 Return Loss. Figure 10.61 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
15 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.62 Conformal array (Radius 1.93 and 0.72 element spacing).

Figure 10.63 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.64 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.65 Return Loss. Figure 10.66 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
25 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.67 Conformal array (Radius 1.18 and 0.72 element spacing).

Figure 10.68 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.69 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.70 Return Loss. Figure 10.71 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
35 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.72 Conformal array (Radius 0.86 and 0.72 element spacing).

Figure 10.73 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.74 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.75 Return Loss. Figure 10.76 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Conformal Array with 0.82 Element Spacing

Planar Array:

Figure 10.77 Planar array 0.82 element spacing.

Figure 10.78 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.79 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.80 Return Loss. Figure 10.81 Insertion Loss.
Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
5 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.82 Conformal array (Radius 6.65 and 0.82 element spacing).

Figure 10.83 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.84 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.85 Return Loss. Figure 10.86 Insertion Loss.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
15 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.87 Conformal array (Radius 2.26 and 0.82 element spacing).

Figure 10.88 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.89 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.90 Return Loss. Figure 10.91 Insertion Loss.
Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
25 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.92 Conformal array (Radius 1.38 and 0.82 element spacing).

Figure 10.93 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.94 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.95 Return Loss. Figure 10.96 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
35 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.97 Conformal array (Radius 1.00 and 0.82 element spacing).

Figure 10.98 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.99 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.100 Return Loss. Figure 10.101 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
Conformal Array with 0.92 Element Spacing
Planar Array :

Figure 10.102 Planar array 0.92 element spacing.

Figure 10.103 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.104 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.105 Return Loss. Figure 10.106 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
5 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.107 Conformal array (Radius 7.86 and 0.92 element spacing).

Figure 10.108 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.109 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.110 Return Loss. Figure 10.111 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
15 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.112 Conformal array (Radius 2.67 and 0.92 element spacing).

Figure 10.113 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.114 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.115 Return Loss. Figure 10.116 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
25 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.117 Conformal array (Radius 1.63 and 0.92 element spacing).

Figure 10.118 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.119 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.120 Return Loss. Figure 10.121 Insertion Loss.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
35 Degree Element Shift:

Figure 10.122 Conformal array (Radius 1.19 and 0.92 element spacing).

Figure 10.123 Horizontal radiation pattern. Figure 10.124 Vertical radiation pattern.

Figure 10.125 Return Loss. Figure 10.126 Insertion Loss.
Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations
Tabulated Results of Simulations

Return Loss
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 1) dB
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 3) dB
Planar -21 -28 -55
-13 -25 -50
-12 -28 -55
-12 and -8 -28 -50
-12 and -8 -28 -50

Table 10.6 Simulation results of an array with 0.52 element spacing.

Return Loss
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 1) dB
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 3) dB
Planar -21 -38 -65
-14 -35 -63
-12 and -8 -33 -60
-10 and -7 -31 -55
-10 and -7 -30 -50

Table 10.7 Simulation results of an array with 0.62 element spacing.

Return Loss
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 1) dB
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 3) dB
Planar -21 -50 -80
-14 -45 -75
-13 and -8 -42 -62
-12 and -6 -40 -60
-11 and -6 -40 -58

Table 10.8 Simulation results of an array with 0.72 element spacing.

Return Loss
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 1) dB
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 3) dB
Planar -21 -65 -80
-14 -62 -66
-12 and -8 -58 -58
-12 and -7 -55 -55
-11 and -6 -55 -55

Table 10.9 Simulation results of an array with 0.82 element spacing.

Chapter 10 - Conformal Array Design and Simulations
Return Loss
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 1) dB
Insertion Loss
(Patch 2 - Patch 3) dB
Planar -20 -70 -90
-12 -70 -90
-12 and -9 -60 -70
-12 and -7 -60 -70
-12 and -6 -56 -66

Table 10.10 Simulation results of an array with 0.92 element spacing.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 11

Discussion of Results

This chapter gives a detailed analysis of the results obtained from simulations carried
out using HFSS. Comparisons will be made with reference to the theoretical aspects
linked to the results and any discrepancies noted will be discussed and commented.
As explained in earlier chapter, simulations were limited due to the extensive hardware
requirements of the software. Due to these PC hardware requirements the size of the
design had to be restricted to three-element array with minimal physical size as
possible. As such, each simulation would take approximately 8 hours to complete and in
total 25 final simulations were performed. Note that the PC in the thesis lab did not have
the required hardware to support the full calculation of a simulation and therefore all
simulations were performed on a Super Computer with the help of the postgraduate
student Eddie Tsai who had access to the computer.

Radiation Pattern Results

The conformal array and different curvature radii was approximated by adjusting the
angle of tilting of the left and right element from the center element. Additionally the
array was simulated under different element spacing (ie. 0.52, 0.62, 0.72, 0.82 and
0.92). Firstly the effect of curvature then the effect of element spacing on the radiation
pattern will be discussed.

Firstly the planar array was simulated in order to obtain the basis for comparison to the
conformal array. As expected the three-element array has a major lobe and two minor
side lobes on each side. The radiation pattern in azimuth direction is affected mostly. As
the curvature was increased, i.e. as the tilting angle was increased, the radiation pattern
suffered from increased level of side lobes. When the tilting angle is increased by 10
Chapter 11 - Discussion of Results
degrees, which is equivalent in reducing the curvature radius by few wavelengths total
deformation in the radiation pattern was observed. In cases for large angles such as 15
and 35
representing curvature radius of only 1-3 wavelengths the radiation pattern
suffered complete degradation when compared to the planar array radiation pattern. The
sidelobes and the major lobe combine into a large single lobe representing an almost
omni-directional radiation pattern. The radiation pattern in elevation direction does not
change much with the change in curvature. It preserves its shape for all simulated
curvature radii.

The element spacing was varied between 0.52 and 0.92 in each simulation. As the
element spacing is increased the radiation pattern suffered from larger sidelobes and in
some cases major grating lobes. The best results were obtained for the array with 0.62
and 0.72 element spacing. Note that some radiation patterns are unclear in their shape
and do not offer the full insight into the effects of various element spacing. It is also
observed that back lobes are present for larger element spacing.

Return Loss Results

Even tough theory suggests that the return loss of each microstrip patch should not be
affected by the element spacing or curvature radii, it is discussed here because
simulations performed show some discrepancies. It can be seen from the tables of
results in chapter 10 that the return loss decreased as the curvature radius was
decreased. However it does not change as the element spacing is increased. This may be
due to an error in simulation or in design of the array. For the planar array the return
loss obtained was 21 dB which is almost the value obtained for the single element
microstrip patch. This return loss level is an acceptable level in most literatures. As the
curvature is increased the return loss dropped to about -12 dB and in most cases the
return loss for the other element dropped to about -8 dB. The reason for this sort of
effect on the return loss is not yet clear. It is most likely due to some fault in the design
of the array in HFSS however it is a single layer microstrip array which is one of the
most simplest designs.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Insertion Loss Results

The insertion loss is the measure of the effect of each element on each other in an array.
Thus it can be used to indicate the level of mutual coupling in the array. As the theory
suggest the smaller the element spacing in the antenna array the greater the level of
mutual coupling. This is also confirmed from the simulations performed.

From tables of results in chapter 10 the insertion loss between Patch 2 and Patch 3 and
the insertion loss between Patch 2 and Patch 1 is measured. The results show that
insertion loss between Patch 2 and Patch 1 is always greater than the insertion loss
between Patch 2 and Patch 3. As elements are spaced exactly same distance from the
center patch (Patch 1) this result was not expected. However the effect of the element
spacing on mutual coupling is still evident. As shown in tables of results in chapter 10
the insertion loss decreased by approximately 10 dB for every wavelength increase in
element spacing. At 0.52 element spacing the insertion loss is about -28 dB and it
decreased to about -70 dB for element spacing of 0.92.

However, as the curvature radius was decreased the level of mutual coupling increased.
This is clearly evident if the insertion loss of the planar array is compared to the
conformal array. In most cases the level of insertion loss increased by maximum of 10
dB for maximum decrease in curvature radius. As the curvature radius was slowly
decremented the level of insertion loss rose only by few dB.

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

Chapter 12

Conclusion and Future Developments


This section summarizes the work carried out in this thesis. Cylindrical conformal array
with three elements is studied, designed and simulated using the HFSS simulation
software. The effects of various curvature radii and different element spacing on the
radiation pattern and mutual coupling are studied.

Most optimal radiation patterns are obtained for element spacing of 0.62 and 0.72.
The best results were obtained for curvature radius of 4 or greater however smaller
radii were also simulated to show the effect of larger curvatures. The result shows that
the resonant frequency is not affected by curvature however the radiation patterns are
significantly affected. The radiation pattern in the elevation direction is strongly
dependant on the cylinder radius but much less so in the azimuthal direction. The high
level of side lobes is present for smaller curvature radii. It also shows that the array
exhibits high sidelobes that can be reduced by making the element spacing smaller than
is necessary with the planar array. To achieve smooth slopes in the main beam, unlike in
planar arrays, the excitation and phase distribution should be kept non-uniform along
the curvature. The level of mutual coupling increases slightly with decrease in curvature
radius. However the level of insertion loss is minimum for larger element spacing and
can be neglected. The return loss decreases as the curvature radius is decreased however
this effect may be due to some array design issues in HFSS software.

Chapter 12 - Conclusion and Future Developments

Future Work

Topics that can be explored or expanded following this thesis are listed as follows:

Design of a larger conformal array with more than three elements
Design of a complete cylindrical array with several arrays in both horizontal and
vertical direction
Study of various curvatures bigger than 3 in radius and several element spacing
to find the optimal configuration
Use of stacked mictrostrip patch, aperture stacked, aperture coupled approach or
any other approach to provide much wider bandwidth, as single layer microstrip
patch does not provide enough bandwidth required for next generation mobile
communication systems
Manufacture of such an array that includes both beam forming and beam
steering electronics and possible smart antenna system as it is a vital feature for
next generation mobile base station antennas
Design of cylindrical array with multiband operation capability as next
generation cellular systems require antennas that work in both 2G and 3G
spectral bands so in order to reduce the number of antennas on base stations
The system can then be put into tests in an actual cellular environment to
determine the feasibility of such an employment in current and future cellular

Conformal Antenna Arrays for 3G Cellular Base Stations

This thesis presents background on current antennas used in mobile communication
systems and fundamental concepts of conformal antenna arrays. As next generation of
mobile communication systems migrate into a new spectral band they will require new
types of mobile base station antennas that will operate in that spectrum and be able to
replace current base station antennas. Cylindrical antenna arrays are prospective
candidates for the next generation mobile communications systems and cellular base
stations due to their full field of view advantage. However in order to design such new
types of antennas there are few issues that should be taken into consideration when
designing and manufacturing such antennas. Firstly the curvature of the cylindrical
array affects the radiation pattern of the antenna and the optimal radius should be found
depending on the application on hand. Secondly the spacing between elements both in
horizontal and vertical direction (assuming full cylindrical array design) is very
important to consider as it affects the level of mutual coupling in the array. Simulations
were conducted to measure and study the effects of curvature of conformal arrays on the
radiation pattern. Additionally the effects of element spacing hence mutual coupling are
simultaneously studied.
In conclusion this thesis has provided an insight into conformal antenna arrays and will
form a platform for researchers working towards realizing the implementation of
conformal arrays in current and future cellular systems.


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